Long noncoding RNA high expression in hepatocellular carcinoma facilitates tumor growth through enhancer of zeste homolog 2 in humans


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

  • This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos.: 81071680 and 30671920) and the Chinese Key Project for Infectious Diseases (2008ZX10002-018 and 2008ZX10002-025).


In recent years, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been shown to have critical regulatory roles in cancer biology. However, the contributions of lncRNAs to hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain largely unknown. Differentially expressed lncRNAs between HBV-related HCC and paired peritumoral tissues were identified by microarray and validated using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Liver samples from patients with HBV-related HCC were analyzed for levels of a specific differentially expressed lncRNA High Expression In HCC (termed lncRNA-HEIH); data were compared with survival data using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared between groups by the log-rank test. The effects of lncRNA-HEIH were assessed by silencing and overexpressing the lncRNA in vitro and in vivo. The expression level of lncRNA-HEIH in HBV-related HCC is significantly associated with recurrence and is an independent prognostic factor for survival. We also found that lncRNA-HEIH plays a key role in G0/G1 arrest, and further demonstrated that lncRNA-HEIH was associated with enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) and that this association was required for the repression of EZH2 target genes. Conclusions: Together, these results indicate that lncRNA-HEIH is an oncogenic lncRNA that promotes tumor progression and leads us to propose that lncRNAs may serve as key regulatory hubs in HCC progression. (HEPATOLOGY 2011