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1.  Prognostic and clinicopathological significance of glypican-3 overexpression in hepatocellular carcinoma: A meta-analysis 
AIM: To investigate the prognostic and clinicopathological significance of glypican-3 (GPC3) overexpression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: Publications were searched using PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library and the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database up to March 2013. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were established to screen eligible studies for meta-analysis. The hazard ratios (HRs) of the eligible studies were pooled using RevMan 5.2 software to evaluate the impact of GPC3 overexpression on overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) in HCC patients. The correlation between GPC3 expression and clinicopathological parameters of HCC was also analyzed.
RESULTS: A total of five studies with 493 patients were included in the meta-analysis. The combined HRs indicated that GPC3 overexpression can predict poor OS (n = 362 in 3 studies, HR = 2.18, 95%CI: 1.47-3.24, Z = 3.86, P = 0.0001) and DFS (n = 325 in 3 studies, HR = 2.05, 95%CI: 1.43-2.93, Z = 3.94, P < 0.0001) in HCC patients without heterogeneity. Egger’s and Begg’s tests were applied to detect publication bias, and the results showed that there was no evidence of publication bias detected in the OS studies (the P value for Egger’s test was 0.216) or DFS studies (the P value for Egger’s test was 0.488). The combined odds ratios (ORs) suggested that GPC3 expression tends to be associated with tumor vascular invasion (OR = 2.74, 95%CI: 1.15-6.52, P = 0.02), hepatic cirrhosis (OR = 2.10, 95%CI: 1.31-3.36, P = 0.002), poor tumor differentiation (OR = 0.22, 95%CI: 0.13-0.40, P < 0.00001) and advanced TNM stage (OR = 0.31, 95%CI: 0.18-0.51, P < 0.00001).
CONCLUSION: From this study, we conclude that GPC3 overexpression tends to be associated with a poor prognosis (poor OS or DFS) in HCC.
PMCID: PMC4033473  PMID: 24876756
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Glypican-3; Prognosis; Clinicopathological parameter; Meta-analysis
2.  Transcription factor ERG is a specific and sensitive diagnostic marker for hepatic angiosarcoma 
AIM: To investigate the expression of ERG, CD34, CD31 (PECAM-1, platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule 1) and factor VIII-related antigen (FVIIIRAg) in the diagnosis of hepatic angiosarcoma patients.
METHODS: Patient samples were collected from January 1986 to December 2012 from the People’s Liberation Army General Hospital in Beijing, China. We obtained twenty-four samples of hepatic angiosarcoma (HAS) that were confirmed by two pathologist. The samples were the result of three autopsy cases, eight biopsy cases and 13 patients who underwent surgical tumor removal. The HAS cases accounted for 2.23% (24/1075) of all hepatic vascular tumors at the hospital during the same time period. Patient histories including age, gender, clinical manifestations, medical treatments, laboratory tests, radiological images, histological observations and outcomes for each case were analyzed in detail. All samples were evaluated histologically with hematoxylin and eosin staining. Using immunohistochemistry, the expression and localization of ERG was examined in all HAS specimens and compared to the known endothelial markers CD34, CD31 and FVIIIRAg. The endothelial markers were also evaluated in a panel of non-HAS tumors.
RESULTS: This cohort of 24 HAS cases is, to the best of our knowledge, currently the largest cohort in the world in the publicly available literature. Hepatic angiosarcoma tissue samples were obtained from 14 males and 10 females with a mean age of 50.6 years (range: 7-86 years). The patients presented with the following clinical manifestations: abdominal pain (16/24), back pain (3/24), heart palpitations (1/20), cough (1/24) or no clinical symptoms (3/24). Tumors were predominantly localized in the right hepatic lobe (15/24) or left hepatic lobe (6/24), or a diffuse growth on the right and left hepatic lobes (3/24). Eleven patients underwent surgical resection (45.8%), two patients received a liver transplant (8.3%), eight patients received interventional therapy (33.3%) and three patients received no treatment (lesions discovered at autopsy, 12.5%). Postoperative follow-up of patients revealed that 87.5% (21/24) of patients had died and three cases were not able to be tracked. In all cases, the mean survival time was 12.1 mo. While 100% of the HAS samples were positive for ERG expression, expression of the other markers was more variable. CD31 was expressed in 79.2% (19/24) of samples, CD34 was expressed in 87.5% (21/24) of samples and FVIIIRAg was expressed in 41.7% (10/24) of samples.
CONCLUSION: ERG is a more sensitive and specific diagnostic marker for hepatic angiosarcoma in comparison to CD31, CD34 and FVIIIRAg.
PMCID: PMC3974537  PMID: 24707153
Liver; Angiosarcoma; ERG; Immunohistochemistry; Diagnosis
3.  Pseudomyxoma peritonei of 92 Chinese patients: Clinical characteristics, pathological classification and prognostic factors 
AIM: To assess the clinicopathologic features and its relationship with prognosis of pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) in Chinese patients.
METHODS: The clinicopathologic features and follow-up data of 92 patients with PMP were reviewed and retrospectively analyzed. The cases were categorized into three groups: disseminated peritoneal adenomucinosis (DPAM), peritoneal mucinous carcinomatosis (PMCA), and peritoneal mucinous carcinomatosis with intermediate or discordant features (PMCA-I/D). The log-rank test was used to analyze survival for each group and various clinicopathological parameters. Multivariate Cox proportional-hazard models were constructed to determine the important factors associated with survival.
RESULTS: The median age at diagnosis was 51.9 years (range: 22-76 years). The median follow up was 124 mo. The 3-, 5- and 10-year survival rates were 74.0%, 67.4% and 49.1%, respectively. There were 49 (53.2%) patients with DPAM, 26 (28.3%) with PMCA-I and 17 (18.5%) with PMCA. Patients with DPAM, PMCA-I/D and PMCA exhibited statistically significant difference in survival (P = 0.001). The 3 year survival for DPAM, PMCAI/D and PMCA was 97.0%, 80.0% and 67.0%, respectively; the 5 year survival was 80.0%, 67.0% and 50.0%, respectively; and the 10 year survival was 65.0%, 28.0% and 14.0%, respectively. Survival rate was significantly lowest in patients < 40 age years of age (P = 0.011). Appendiceal tumor and extra-ovarian parenchymal organ involvement were significantly related to overall survival. Patients with appendiceal mucinous adenocarcinoma (MACA) showed the significantly poorer prognosis (P = 0.011). Multivariate analysis showed that pathological classification, age, appendiceal tumor were significant related to overall survival.
CONCLUSION: The clinical process “PMP” should be pathologically classified into DPAM, PMCA and PMCA-I/D. Pathological classification, age, appendiceal MACA are survival independent predictors in Chinese patients with PMP.
PMCID: PMC3386321  PMID: 22791943
Pseudomyxoma peritonei; Pathologic; Clinical; Classification; Prognosis
4.  Anti-tumor effect of 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine by inhibiting telomerase activity in hepatocellular carcinoma cells 
AIM: To investigate the effect of the demethylating reagent 5-aza-2’-deoxycitidine (DAC) on telomerase activity in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines, SMMC-7721 and HepG2.
METHODS: The related gene expression in cell lines was examined by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting analysis. The telomerase activity was examined by telomeric repeat amplification protocol-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and DNA methylation was determined by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: The telomerase activity was significantly reduced in both cell lines treated with DAC, accompanied by downregulation of telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT). We also observed the effect of DAC on the methylation status of hTERT promoter and the expression of regulatory genes, such as c-myc, p15, p16, p21, E2F1, and WT1. The methylation status of hTERT promoter could be reversed in SMMC-7721 by DAC, but not in HepG2 cells. However, p16 expression could be reactivated by demethylation of its promoter, and c-Myc expression was repressed in both cell lines. Moreover, DAC could enhance the sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agents, such as cisplatin, by induction of apoptosis of HCC cells.
CONCLUSION: The DAC exerts its anti-tumor effects in HCC cells by inhibiting the telomerase activity.
PMCID: PMC3353367  PMID: 22654424
5-aza-2’-deoxycitidine; Telomerase; Hepatocellular carcinoma; DNA methylation
5.  Histological origin of pseudomyxoma peritonei in Chinese women: Clinicopathology and immunohistochemistry 
AIM: To investigate the histological origin of pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) in Chinese women.
METHODS: The clinical and pathological data were reviewed for 35 women with PMP, and specimens of the peritoneal, appendiceal and ovarian lesions of each patient were examined using the PV-6000 immunohistochemistry method. Antibodies included cytokeratin (CK)7, CK20, mucin (MUC)-1, MUC-2, carbohydrate antigen (CA)-125, estrogen receptor (ER), and progesterone receptor (PR).
RESULTS: Abundant colloidal mucinous tumors were observed in the peritoneum in all 35 cases. Thirty-one patients had a history of appendectomy, 28 of whom had mucinous lesions. There was one patient with appendicitis, one whose appendix showed no apparent pathological changes, and one with unknown surgical pathology. Ovarian mucinous tumors were found in 24 patients. The tumors were bilateral in 13 patients, on the right-side in nine, and on the left side in two. Twenty patients had combined appendiceal and ovarian lesions; 16 of whom had undergone initial surgery for appendiceal lesions. Four patients had undergone initial surgery for ovarian lesions, and relapse occurred in these patients at 1, 11, 32 and 85 mo after initial surgery. Appendiceal mucinous tumors were found in each of these four patients. Thirty-three of the 35 patients showed peritoneal lesions that were positive for CK20 and MUC-2, but negative for CK7, MUC-1, CA125, ER and PR. The expression patterns in the appendix and the ovary were similar to those of the peritoneal lesions. In one of the remaining two cases, CK20, CK7 and MUC-2 were positive, and MUC-1, CA125, ER and PR were negative. The ovaries were not resected. The appendix of one patient was removed at another hospital, and no specimen was evaluated. In the other case, the appendix appeared to be normal during surgery, and was not resected. Peritoneal and ovarian lesions were negative for CK20, MUC-2, CK7, MUC-1, CA125, ER and PR.
CONCLUSION: Most PMP originated from the appendix. Among women with PMP, the ovarian tumors were implanted rather than primary. For patients with PMP, appendectomy should be performed routinely. The ovaries, especially the right ovaries should be explored.
PMCID: PMC3163252  PMID: 21941421
Pseudomyxoma peritonei; Peritoneum; Tumor origin; Ovary; Appendix; Immunohistochemistry
6.  Synergistic effects of curcumin and bevacizumab on cell signaling pathways in hepatocellular carcinoma 
Oncology Letters  2014;9(1):295-299.
The aim of the present study was to explore the effects of curcumin in combination with bevacizumab on the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/VEGF receptor (VEGFR)/K-ras pathway in hepatocellular carcinoma. A total of 30 Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were randomly divided into five groups: Control, model, curcumin, VEGF blocker, and curcumin + VEGF blocker groups. The mRNA levels of VEGF and VEGFR in all groups were subsequently measured by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and the protein expression of K-ras was detected by western blot analysis. Compared with the control group, the mRNA levels of VEGF and VEGFR were revealed to be significantly increased in the model, curcumin and VEGF blocker groups. The VEGF mRNA levels in the curcumin, VEGF blocker and curcumin + VEGF blocker groups were all decreased when compared with the model group. In addition, the VEGF mRNA levels in the curcumin + VEGF blocker group were significantly lower compared with the curcumin group (P<0.05). The VEGF mRNA levels in the curcumin, VEGF blocker and curcumin + VEGF blocker groups were decreased when compared with the model group (P=0.0001). No significant differences in VEGF mRNA levels were identified between the VEGF blocker and curcumin groups (P=0.863), whereas the VEGF mRNA levels in the curcumin + VEGF blocker group were significantly lower than that of the curcumin group (P=0.025). Curcumin and the VEGF blocker are each capable of inhibiting hepatocellular carcinoma progression by regulating the VEGF/VEGFR/K-ras pathway. The combination of the two compounds has a synergistic effect on the inhibition of the effects of the VEGF signaling pathways in hepatocellular carcinoma progression.
PMCID: PMC4246621  PMID: 25435978
curcumin; vascular endothelial growth factor blocker; signaling pathway; vascular endothelial growth factor; K-ras; hepatocellular carcinoma
7.  Diagnosis of gastric intraepithelial neoplasia by narrow-band imaging and confocal laser endomicroscopy 
AIM: To evaluate the diagnosis of different differentiated gastric intraepithelial neoplasia (IN) by magnification endoscopy combined with narrow-band imaging (ME-NBI) and confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE).
METHODS: Eligible patients with suspected gastric IN lesions previously diagnosed by endoscopy in secondary hospitals and scheduled for further diagnosis and treatment were recruited for this study. Excluded from the study were patients who had liver cirrhosis, impaired renal function, acute gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, coagulopathy, esophageal varices, jaundice, and GI post-surgery. Also excluded were those who were pregnant, breastfeeding, were younger than 18 years old, or were unable to provide informed consent. All patients had all mucus and bile cleared from their stomachs. They then received upper GI endoscopy. When a mucosal lesion is found during observation with white-light imaging, the lesion is visualized using maximal magnification, employing gradual movement of the tip of the endoscope to bring the image into focus. Saved images are analyzed. Confocal images were evaluated by two endoscopists (Huang J and Li MY), who were familiar with CLE, blinded to the related information about the lesions, and asked to classify each lesion as either a low grade dysplasia (LGD) or high grade dysplasia (HGD) according to given criteria. The results were compared with the final histopathologic diagnosis. ME-NBI images were evaluated by two endoscopists (Lu ZS and Ling-Hu EQ) who were familiar with NBI, blinded to the related information about the lesions and CLE images, and were asked to classify each lesion as a LGD or HGD according to the “microvascular pattern and surface pattern” classification system. The results were compared with the final histopathologic diagnosis.
RESULTS: The study included 32 pathology-proven low grade gastric IN and 26 pathology-proven high grade gastric IN that were detected with any of the modalities. CLE and ME-NBI enabled clear visualization of the vascular microsurface patterns and microvascular structures of the gastric mucosa. The accuracy of the CLE and the ME-NBI diagnosis was 88% (95% CI: 78%-98%) and 81% (95% CI: 69%-93%), respectively. The kappa coefficient of agreement between the histopathology and the in vivo CLE imaging was 0.755; between the histopathology and the in vivo CLE imaging was 0.615. McNemar’s test (binomial distribution used) indicated that the agreement was significant (P < 0.05). When patients were diagnosed by ME-NBI with CLE, the overall accuracy of the diagnosis was 86.21% (95% CI: 73%-96%), and the kappa coefficient of agreement was 0.713, according to McNemar’s test (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Higher diagnostic accuracy, sensitivity and specificity of CLE over ME-NBI indicate the feasibility of these two techniques for the efficacious diagnostic classification of gastric IN.
PMCID: PMC3442217  PMID: 23002348
Gastric intraepithelial neoplasia; Histological diagnosis; Confocal laser endomicroscopy; Magnification endoscopy; Narrow-band imaging; Gastric intraepithelial neoplasia lesion
8.  The Injured Liver Induces Hyperimmunoglobulinemia by Failing to Dispose of Antigens and Endotoxins in the Portal System 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0122739.
Hyperimmunoglobulinemia is frequently observed in patients with chronic liver diseases. However, the exact mechanism underlying the high level of antibody formation is not fully understood. In our study, we provide evidence for the functional role of the liver and the stimulation of plasma cell proliferation in hyperimmunoglobulinemia. We collected sera from patients with chronic liver diseases, and the level of serum immunoglobulins in patients was examined; this was also investigated in animal models of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. An end-to-side microsurgical portacaval shunt was used to mimic liver dysfunction in rats. We used portal vein serum and inferior vena cava serum to immunize healthy rats and mice in order to confirm the function of the healthy liver in disposing of antigens and endotoxins from the gut. For the analysis of the state of plasma cell activation, plasma cells from mice were stained with PE-conjugated anti-CD138 and FITC-conjugated anti-BrdU for flow cytometry analysis. Hyperimmunoglobulinemia was observed both in patients with chronic liver diseases and in related animal models, and high plasma LPS levels were also observed. There was a significant increase in the activation and proliferation of plasma cell in mice immunized with antigens or LPS-positive serum compared with controls that were immunized with antigens and LPS-negative serum. We confirmed that the healthy liver plays an important role in disposing of antigens and endotoxins derived from the gut. Hyperimmunoglobulinemia in chronic liver diseases mainly arises due to the collateral circulation secondary to portal hypertension, gut antigens and endotoxins that bypass the liver and reach the antibody-producing cells.
PMCID: PMC4380499  PMID: 25826264
9.  The role of autophagy induced by tumor microenvironment in different cells and stages of cancer 
Cell & Bioscience  2015;5:14.
Development of a tumor is a very complex process, and invasion and metastasis of malignant tumors are hallmarks and are difficult problems to overcome. The tumor microenvironment plays an important role in controlling tumor fate and autophagy induced by the tumor microenvironment is attracting more and more attention. Autophagy can be induced by several stressors in the tumor microenvironment and autophagy modifies the tumor microenvironment, too. Autophagy has dual roles in tumor growth. In this review, we discussed the interaction between autophagy and the tumor microenvironment and the paradoxical roles of autophagy on tumor growth at different stages of tumor development.
PMCID: PMC4384293  PMID: 25844158
Autophagy; Tumor microenvironment; Tumorigenesis
10.  Overexpression of SIRT1 promotes metastasis through epithelial-mesenchymal transition in hepatocellular carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:978.
SIRT1 is a member of the mammalian sirtuin family with the ability to deacetylate histone and nonhistone proteins. The correlation between SIRT1 expression and tumor metastasis in several types of cancer has aroused widespread concern. This study investigated SIRT1 expression and its prognostic value in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The function of SIRT1 in hepatocarcinogenesis was further investigated in cell culture and mouse models.
Western blotting and immunohistochemistry were used to explore SIRT1 expression in HCC cell lines and primary HCC clinical specimens. The functions of SIRT1 in the migration and invasion in the HCC cell line were analyzed by infecting cells with adenovirus containing full-length SIRT1 or sh-RNA. The effect of SIRT1 on tumorigenicity in nude mice was also investigated.
SIRT1 expression was significantly overexpressed in the tumor tissues and HCC cell lines. SIRT1 significantly promoted the ability of migration and invasion in HCC cells. In addition, experiments with a mouse model revealed that SIRT1 overexpression enhanced HCC tumor metastasis in vivo. Furthermore, we demonstrated that SIRT1 significantly enhanced the invasive and metastatic potential by inducing epithelial-mesenchymal transition in HCC cells. A clinicopathological analysis showed that SIRT1 expression was significantly correlated with tumor size, tumor number, and TNM staging. Kaplan–Meier survival curves revealed that positive SIRT1 expression was associated with poor prognosis in patients with HCC.
Our data suggest that SIRT1 may play an important role in HCC progression and could be a potential molecular therapy target for HCC.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-978) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4391082  PMID: 25522783
SIRT1; Human hepatocellular carcinoma; Metastasis; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
11.  Proliferative ductular reactions correlate with hepatic progenitor cell and predict recurrence in HCC patients after curative resection 
Cell & Bioscience  2014;4:50.
Ductular reactions (DRs) are well documented in many acute and chronic liver disease.The DRs are thought to be the transit amplifying cells deriving from activation of the stem/progenitor cell compartments of the liver. The aim of this study was to examine the presence of proliferative index of DR (PI-DR) and HPC markers’ expression in HCCs after curative hepatectomy, as well as their relationship with clinicopathological features and prognosis.
Tissue microarray with peritumoral and intratumoral tissue samples of 120 HCCs after hepatectomy was analysed for peritumoral expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen for PI-DR. Peritumoral and intratumoral expression status of HPC markers including EpCAM, OV6, CD133 and c-kit were also examined by immunohistochemistry. TMA analysis of HCCs revealed that peritumoral PI-DR strongly correlated with the degree of inflammation and fibrosis. The peritumoral PI-DR positively correlated with peritumoral HPC markers EpCAM, OV6, CD133 and c-kit expression. Moreover, there were highly significant correlations between peritumoral PI-DR and intratumoral HPC markers EpCAM, OV6, CD133 and c-kit expression. Further, multivariate analysis showed that peritumoral PI-DR was the independent prognostic factor for overall survival (HR; 3.316, P < 0.001), and peritumoral PI-DR had a better power to predict disease-free survival (HR; 2.618, P < 0.001).
Peritumoral PI-DR, as a valid surrogate for peritumoral and intratumoral expression of HPC markers, could be served as a potential prognostic marker for recurrence and survival in HCC after hepatectomy.
PMCID: PMC4156622  PMID: 25197550
Proliferative index of ductular reaction; Hepatic progenitor cell; Recurrence; Hepatocellular carcinoma
12.  Inhibition of tumor necrosis factor alpha reduces the outgrowth of hepatic micrometastasis of colorectal tumors in a mouse model of liver ischemia-reperfusion injury 
Patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) often develop liver metastases, in which case surgery is considered the only potentially curative treatment option. However, liver surgery is associated with a risk of ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury, which is thought to promote the growth of colorectal liver metastases. The influence of IR-induced tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) elevation in the process still is unknown. To investigate the role of TNF-α in the growth of pre-existing micrometastases in the liver following IR, we used a mouse model of colorectal liver metastases. In this model, mice received IR treatment seven days after intrasplenic injections of colorectal CT26 cells. Prior to IR treatment, either TNF-α blocker Enbrel or low-dose TNF-α, which could inhibit IR-induced TNF-α elevation, was administered by intraperitoneal injection.
Hepatic IR treatment significantly promoted CT26 tumor growth in the liver, but either Enbrel or low-dose TNF-α pretreatment reversed this trend. Further studies showed that the CT26 + IR group prominently increased the levels of ALT and AST, liver necrosis, inflammatory infiltration and the expressions of hepatic IL-6, MMP9 and E-selectin compared to those of CT26 group. Inhibition of TNF-α elevation remarkably attenuated the increases of these liver inflammatory damage indicators and tumor-promoting factors.
These findings suggested that inhibition of TNF-α elevation delayed the IR-enhanced outgrowth of colorectal liver metastases by reducing IR-induced inflammatory damage and the formation of tumor-promoting microenvironments. Both Enbrel and low-dose TNF-α represented the potential therapeutic approaches for the protection of colorectal liver metastatic patients against IR injury-induced growth of liver micrometastases foci.
PMCID: PMC3902418  PMID: 24397824
Colorectal cancer; Liver metastases; Ischemia-reperfusion; TNF-α; Enbrel
13.  Chloroquine Promotes the Anticancer Effect of TACE in a Rabbit VX2 Liver Tumor Model 
Background: To investigate the efficacy of TACE combined with CQ, an autophagic inhibitor, in a rabbit VX2 liver tumor model.
Methods: Tumor size was measured. And tumor growth rate was calculated to examine the effect of the combined treatment. Apoptosis was detected by TUNEL assay. Meanwhile, autophagic activity was detected by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting to investigate the mechanism underlying. Liver function was also examined to assess feasibility and safety of the combined therapy.
Results: Tumors in the control grew more than 4 times bigger after 14 days, while that in the group of TACE alone just showed mild growth. But a slight shrinkage was shown after the treatment of CQ+TACE. Growth ratio of TACE alone was 96.45% ± 28.958% while that of CQ+TACE was -28.73% ± 12.265%. Compared with TACE alone, necrosis in CQ+TACE showed no significant difference, however, the apoptosis was much higher. There were only 14.8±3.11% apoptotic cells in TACE, but 33±4.18% in CQ+TACE, which suggests the increased apoptosis in CQ+TACE contributed to the decrease of tumor volume. In terms of autophagic activity, the result is negative when we immunostained sections of the control with LC3 antibody, but positive in TACE alone and CQ+TACE. And the result of Western blot showed that there was just a low level of LC3Ⅱexpressed in the control and CQ alone, but higher in TACE, and much higher in CQ+TACE because CQ inhibited its degradation in autophagy. Compared with control, p62 decreased in TACE, but the decrease was partially reversed in CQ+TACE. In addition, toxicity of CQ+TACE was assessed not higher than TACE alone, which supports the safety of CQ+TACE.
Conclusion: CQ+TACE works better than TACE alone in rabbit VX2 liver tumor model because CQ inhibits autophagy induced by TACE. The inhibited autophagy loses its resistance to apoptosis that apoptosis increased, which contributes to the inhibition of tumor growth. This study indicates CQ may be a promising adjuvant to promote the effect of TACE.
PMCID: PMC3619094  PMID: 23569437
Hepatocellular carcinoma; transcatheter arterial chemoembolization; chloroquine; apoptosis; autophagy.
14.  Inhibition of autophagy enhances anticancer effects of bevacizumab in hepatocarcinoma 
Angiogenesis inhibitors have long been considered desirable anticancer agents. However, it was found that many tumors could develop resistance to antiangiogenesis inhibitors. Antiangiogenic therapy results in metabolic stress. Autophagy is an important survival mechanism in cancer cells under metabolic stress; however, it remains unknown if autophagy contributes to antiangiogenesis resistance. In this study, we reported that bevacizumab treatment reduced the development of new blood vessels and inhibited cell growth in xenografts of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tumors. Bevacizumab treatment also upregulated expression of the autophagy-related genes (Beclin1 and LC3) and increased autophagosome formation. Our in vitro studies demonstrated that autophagy inhibition significantly increased apoptosis of HCC cells during nutrient starvation or hypoxia. In addition, the combined treatment of an autophagy inhibitor and bevacizumab markedly inhibited the tumor growth of HCC xenografts, led to enhanced apoptosis, and impaired the proliferation of tumor cells compared with treatment with either drug alone. Furthermore, autophagy inhibition led to enhanced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in HCC cells exposed to nutrient starvation or hypoxia in vitro and increased DNA oxidative damage in vivo. Antioxidants reduced nutrient starvation or the hypoxia-induced cell death of HCC cells after autophagy inhibition. Our results suggest that autophagy modulates ROS generation and contributes to cell survival under metabolic stress. Therefore, autophagy inhibition may be a novel way of increasing the efficicacy of antiangiogenic agents in the treatment of HCC.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00109-012-0966-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3611041  PMID: 23052483
Hepatocarcinoma; Antiangiogenesis; Autophagy; Metabolic stress; Apoptosis
15.  Toll-like receptor 4 signaling promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition in human hepatocellular carcinoma induced by lipopolysaccharide 
BMC Medicine  2012;10:98.
The endotoxin level in the portal and peripheral veins of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients is higher and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a cell wall constituent of gram-negative bacteria, has been reported to inhibit tumor growth. However, in this study, we found that LPS-induced toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling was involved in tumor invasion and survival, and the molecular mechanism was investigated,
Four HCC cell lines and a splenic vein metastasis of the nude mouse model were used to study the invasion ability of LPS-induced HCC cells and the epithelia-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in vitro and in vivo. A total of 106 clinical samples from HCC patients were used to evaluate TLR4 expression and analyze its association with clinicopathological characteristics
The in vitro and in vivo experiments demonstrated that LPS could significantly enhance the invasive potential and induce EMT in HCC cells with TLR4 dependent. Further studies showed that LPS could directly activate nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signaling through TLR4 in HCC cells. Interestingly, blocking NF-κB signaling significantly inhibited transcription factor Snail expression and thereby inhibited EMT occurrence. High expression of TLR4 in HCC tissues was strongly associated with both poor cancer-free survival and overall survival in patients.
Our results indicate that TLR4 signaling is required for LPS-induced EMT, tumor cell invasion and metastasis, which provide molecular insights for LPS-related pathogenesis and a basis for developing new strategies against metastasis in HCC.
PMCID: PMC3482562  PMID: 22938142
Toll-like receptor 4; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; Lipopolysaccharide; Human hepatocellular carcinoma
16.  CD133+CXCR4+ colon cancer cells exhibit metastatic potential and predict poor prognosis of patients 
BMC Medicine  2012;10:85.
Colorectal cancer (CRC), which frequently metastasizes to the liver, is one of the three leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Growing evidence suggests that a subset of cells exists among cancer stem cells. This distinct subpopulation is thought to contribute to liver metastasis; however, it has not been fully explored in CRC yet.
Flow cytometry analysis was performed to detect distinct subsets with CD133 and CXCR4 markers in human primary and metastatic CRC tissues. The 'stemness' and metastatic capacities of different subpopulations derived from the colon cancer cell line HCT116 were compared in vitro and in vivo. The roles of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and stromal-cell derived factor-1 (SDF-1) in the metastatic process were also investigated. A survival curve was used to explore the correlation between the content of CD133+CXCR4+ cancer cells and patient survival.
In human specimens, the content of CD133+CXCR4+ cells was higher in liver metastases than in primary colorectal tumors. Clonogenic and tumorigenic cells were restricted to CD133+ cells in the HCT116 cell line, with CXCR4 expression having no impact on the 'stemness' properties. We found that CD133+CXCR4+ cancer cells had a high metastatic capacity in vitro and in vivo. Compared with CD133+CXCR4- cells, CD133+CXCR4+ cancer cells experienced EMT, which contributed partly to their metastatic phenotype. We then determined that SDF-1/CXCL12 treatment could further induce EMT in CD133+CXCR4+ cancer cells and enhance their invasive behavior, while this could not be observed in CD133+CXCR4- cancer cells. Blocking SDF-1/CXCR4 interaction with a CXCR4 antagonist, AMD3100 (1,10-[1,4-phenylenebis(methylene)]bis-1,4,8,11 -tetraazacyclotetradecane octahydrochloride), inhibited metastatic tumor growth in a mouse hepatic metastasis model. Finally, a high percentage of CD133+CXCR4+ cells in human primary CRC was associated with a reduced two-year survival rate.
Strategies targeting the SDF-1/CXCR4 interaction may have important clinical applications in the suppression of colon cancer metastasis. Further investigations on how high expression of CXCR4 and EMT occur in this identified cancer stem cell subset are warranted to provide insights into our understanding of tumor biology.
PMCID: PMC3424958  PMID: 22871210
colorectal cancer; cancer stem cell; CXCR4; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; liver metastasis
17.  Clinicopathological features of atypical lipomatous tumors of the laryngopharynx 
Atypical lipomatous tumor (ALT) of the laryngopharynx is rare. Here we report five cases to demonstrate their clinicopathological features. The patients were four males and one female, aged 41 to 69 years (median 53.6 years). All tumors (two in the hypopharynx and three in the larynx) presented as a slowly growing, painless mass. Symptoms included dysphagia (2/5), dysphonia (3/5), and the feeling of a foreign body in the throat (5/5). Tumors were well circumscribed or focally infiltrative, ranging from 2.0 to 5.0 cm (median, 3.4 cm) in size, and microscopically showed the typical features of lipoma-like ALT. Immunohistochemically, tumor cells were stained with S-100, vimentin, murine double minute 2 (MDM-2), and cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4). Two patients had local tumor recurrences at 6 and 14 months after initial surgery during follow-up. ALT of laryngopharynx is an indolent tumor. Immunohistochemical staining for MDM-2 and CDK4 is helpful in pathological diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC2997399  PMID: 21121069
Atypical lipomatous tumor (ALT); Laryngopharynx; Immunohistochemistry

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