Equally contributing to this work.
Reduced N-cadherin expression is associated with metastatic potential and poor surgical outcomes of hepatocellular carcinoma
Article first published online: 21 DEC 2011
© 2011 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Foundation and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Volume 27, Issue 1, pages 173–180, January 2012
How to Cite
Zhan, D.-q., Wei, S., Liu, C., Liang, B.-y., Ji, G.-b., Chen, X.-p., Xiong, M. and Huang, Z.-y. (2012), Reduced N-cadherin expression is associated with metastatic potential and poor surgical outcomes of hepatocellular carcinoma. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 27: 173–180. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2011.06847.x
- Issue published online: 21 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 21 DEC 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 20 JUL 2011 07:15AM EST
- Accepted for publication 26 June 2011.
- hepatocellular carcinoma;
Background and Aim: N-cadherin (N-cad), one of the classic cadherins, has been reported to be involved in tumor metastasis in some types of tumors. This study aims to investigate the expression status of N-cad in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and the correlation between N-cad expression and metastatic potential, as well as the surgical outcomes of HCC.
Methods: N-cad expression in HCC and adjacent liver tissues, as well as normal liver tissues, was studied by immunohistochemistry and Western blot, and the relationship between N-cad expression and the clinicopathological features of HCC was evaluated. By using RNA interference technique, the correlation of N-cad expression and metastatic potential was investigated by downregulating N-cad expression in HCCLM3 cells, and the effects of N-cad downregulation on cell aggregation, migration, and invasion were then analyzed. Furthermore, the correlation between N-cad expression and the surgical outcomes of a cohort of HCC patients was analyzed.
Results: In liver tissues, N-cad was strongly expressed on cell–cell boundaries, whereas various reduced-expression patterns were observed in tumors. Of 64 HCC, 34 (53%) tumors showed reduced N-cad expression, compared with their adjacent liver tissues. The decreased expression of N-cad was significantly correlated with poorer tumor differentiation (P = 0.001) and vascular invasion (P = 0.003). N-cad knockdown in HCCLM3 cells resulted in decreased cell aggregation and increased cell migration and invasion. The decreased expression of N-cad in HCC was significantly associated with shorter postoperative disease-free survival (P = 0.039).
Conclusions: N-cad expression is decreased in HCC, and the downregulation of N-cad is associated with the metastatic potential of HCC and poorer surgical prognosis.