Key laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Translational Research (Ministry of Education), Department of Hepatic, Biliary & Pancreatic Surgery Unit I, Peking University Cancer Hospital & Institute, Beijing, China.
Neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP) mediates migration and invasion in cancer cells, but its expression and clinicopathologic and prognostic importance in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain unknown. The present study was designed to address these issues.
N-WASP expression was first analyzed by Western blotting in 19 paired HCC and paratumoral liver (PTL) tissues. We further evaluated N-WASP expression immunohistochemically in samples from 119 patients with HCC. The clinicopathologic and prognostic importance of N-WASP expression were also investigated.
Western blotting showed that N-WASP expression was up-regulated in 15 of 19 HCC tissues (79%), compared with PTL ones. The N-WASP-positive rate in immunohistochemical staining also was greater in HCC (63/119, 53%) than that in PTL tissues (8/119, 6%). The up-regulated N-WASP expression in HCC tissues was correlated with absence of capsule formation and predicted less overall and disease-free survival. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that N-WASP was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival and was marginally important for disease-free survival.
These data establish that N-WASP is highly expressed in HCC and its strong prognostic importance. Therefore, the gene/protein might serve as a potential therapeutic target for HCC.