Researchers found that MEP1A, a candidate oncogene, is a novel predictor of hepatocellular carcinoma and impacted the development and rate of progression of the disease, according to published findings in Hepatology.
The difficulty of determining a patient's prognosis in clinical practice is in large part due to the molecular diversity of HCC; researchers sought to investigate the relationship between MEP1A and clinical outcomes of patients with HCC via immunohistochemical analyses of tissue samples from two independent cohorts of 394 patients. Some had positive expression of MEP1A and others did not.
“In this report, it was demonstrated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction that MEP1A messenger RNA levels were significantly elevated in HCC tumor tissues compared with matched adjacent non-neoplastic tissues and nonmalignant liver disease tissues,” the researchers wrote.
Overall, analyses showed that evidence of MEP1A in HCC tumor cells was an independent and significant risk factor that affected survival post-curative resection in both cohorts (HR = 2.05; 95% CI, 1.427-2.946; HR = 1.89; 95% CI, 1.26-2.833).
Further analysis of a Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage 0-A subgroup showed patients with positive MEP1A expression in their tumor cells had worse surgical prognoses compared with patients without evidence of MEP1A expression in their tumor cells (P = .001; P < .001).
In vitro and in vivo assays determined that MEP1A promoted HCC cell proliferation, migration and invasion. In addition, MEP1A was found to play a role in the regulation of cytoskeletal events and induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition in HCC tumor cells.
“Our results suggest that MEP1A is a novel prognostic predictor in HCC and plays an important role in the development and progression of HCC,” the researchers concluded.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.