Human hepatocellular carcinoma cell-specific miRNAs reveal the differential expression of miR-24 and miR-27a in cirrhotic/non-cirrhotic HCC.
ABSTRACT: microRNAs (miRs) are 18-25 nucleotide non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression in several physiological and pathological conditions. To gather more knowledge on microRNAs in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) we generated a small RNA library in the human HCC cell line HA22T/VGH by cloning and sequencing the cDNA obtained following the size selection of 18-24 nucleotide RNAs. We determined the expression levels of the most frequently cloned microRNAs by qPCR in HCC tissues and in their peritumoral counterparts from biopsy specimens of 41 HCC patients. The most frequently cloned miRs were miR-24, miR-27a and miR-21, and their expression levels in human HCC tissues indicate that these miRs were dysregulated in HCC. We showed that miR-24 and miR-27a were significantly downregulated in HCCs from cirrhotic liver tissues in comparison to those from non-cirrhotic liver tissues. In cirrhotic HCCs the downregulation of miR-24 was correlated with poorer prognosis in patients with HBV and HCV virus infections. miR-21 was generally upregulated in HCC tissues versus the corresponding peritumoral tissues, particularly in non-cirrhotic HCC. Furthermore, by sequence alignment we identified the human miR orthologue of Mus musculus miR-1199 not yet annotated. Our results outline the differential expression of miRs in cirrhotic and non-cirrhotic HCCs, thereby contributing to advances in the discovery and validation of novel molecular biomarkers of HCC progression.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a challenging malignancy of global importance, it is the third most common cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. In the last years the multikinase inhibitor sorafenib has been used for advanced HCC, but some patients do not benefit from this therapy; thus, novel therapeutic options based on molecular approaches are urgently needed. microRNAs are short non coding RNAs involved in several physiological and pathological conditions including HCC and increasing evidence describes miRs as good tools for the molecular targeted therapies in HCC. The purpose of this study was to identify novel approaches to sensitize the HCC cells to sorafenib by microRNAs targeting urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA). METHODS: The miR-193a was validated as negative regulator of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) in 2 HCC undifferentiated cell lines by transient transfection of miR and anti-miR molecules. The molecular interaction between miR-193a and uPA mRNA target was verified by luciferase reporter assay. The miR-193a expression level was evaluated by stem-loop real time PCR in tumoral tissues from 39 HCC patients. The HCC cells were co-treated with sorafenib and miR-193a and the effects on cellular proliferation, apoptosis were tested. The effect of sorafenib on c-met expression levels was assessed by western blotting. RESULTS: The miR-193a has resulted a negative regulator of uPA in both the HCC cell lines tested. The miR-193a expression has resulted dysregulated in tumoral tissues from 39 HCC patients. We found miR-193a down-regulation in HCC respect to peritumoral (PT) tissues and more in the cirrhotic HCCs than in non-cirrhotic ones. Transfection of HA22T/VGH HCC cells with miR-193a decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis, and combined treatment with miR-193a and sorafenib led to further proliferation inhibition. CONCLUSIONS: Our results present new advances in the post-transcriptional miR-mediated mechanisms of uPA and they suggest a new strategy to impair the aggressive behavior of HCC cells. Our findings could be helpful to explore novel approaches for multi-target and multi-agent therapies of the HCC.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common cancer of the liver with a very poor prognosis. The dysregulation of microRNAs (miRs) is indeed implicated in HCC onset and progression. In this study, we have evaluated the expression of miR-23b and miR-193a in a large cohort of 59 and 67 HCC patients, respectively. miR-23b and miR-193a resulted significantly down-regulated in primary HCCs compared to their matched peritumoral counterparts. Furthermore, patients with higher miR-193a expression exhibited longer OS and DFS, suggesting that miR-193a may be a molecular prognostic factor for HCC patients. Since the regulation of miRs by DNA methylation may occur in human cancers, we verified whether the down-modulation of miR-23b and miR-193a in HCC tissues could be related to DNA methylation. An inverse trend between miR-23b expression and DNA methylation was observed, indicating that miR-23b can be epigenetically regulated. By contrast, the down-regulation of miR-193a was not mediated by DNA methylation. To verify the potential role of miR-23b and miR-193a as responsive molecular targets in vitro, we used the inhibitor of DNA methylation 5-aza-dC to restore miR-23b expression level in combination with miR-193a transfection. The combined treatment led to a significant inhibition of cellular proliferation and migration. Taken together, our findings provide evidence that miR-23b and miR-193a may be molecular diagnostic and prognostic factors for HCC; furthermore, miR-23b and miR-193a are responsive molecular targets for limiting HCC cell aggressiveness in combination with the epigenetic drug 5-aza-dC. Moreover, our results provide new advances in the epigenetic regulation of these miRs in HCC.
Project description:BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs expression has been extensively studied in hepatocellular carcinoma but little is known regarding the relationship, if any, with inflammation, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), host's repair mechanisms and cell immortalization. This study aimed at assessing the extent of oxidative DNA damage (8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine - 8-OHdG) in different phases of the carcinogenetic process, in relation to DNA repair gene polymorphism, telomeric dysfunction and to the expression of several microRNAs, non-coding genes involved in post-transcriptional regulation, cell proliferation, differentiation and death. METHODS: Tissue samples obtained either at surgery, [neoplastic (HCC) and adjacent non-cancerous cirrhotic tissues (NCCT)] at percutaneous or laparoscopic biopsy (patients with HCV or HBV-related hepatitis or patients undergoing cholecystectomy) were analysed for 8-OHdG (HPLC-ED), OGG1 (a DNA repair gene) polymorphism (PCR-RFLP), telomerase activity, telomere length (T/S, by RT-PCR), Taqman microRNA assay and Bad/Bax mRNA (RT-PCR). Fifty-eight samples from 29 HCC patients (obtained in both neoplastic and peritumoral tissues), 22 from chronic hepatitis (CH) and 10 controls (cholecystectomy patients - CON) were examined. RESULTS: Eight-OHdG levels were significantly higher in HCC and NCCT than in CH and CON (p=0.001). Telomerase activity was significantly higher in HCC than in the remaining subgroups (p=0.002); conversely T/S was significantly lower in HCC (p=0.05). MiR-199a-b, -195, -122, -92a and -145 were down-regulated in the majority of HCCs while miR-222 was up-regulated. A positive correlation was observed among 8-OHdG levels, disease stage, telomerase activity, OGG1 polymorphisms and ALT/GGT levels. In HCC, miR-92 expression correlated positively with telomerase activity, 8-OHdG levels and Bad/Bax mRNA. CONCLUSIONS: The above findings confirm the accumulation, in the progression of chronic liver damage to HCC, of a ROS-mediated oxidative DNA damage, and suggest that this correlates with induction of telomerase activity and, as a novel finding, with over-expression of miR-92, a microRNA that plays a role in both the apoptotic process and in cellular proliferation pathways.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common liver cancer and second leading cause of cancer related death worldwide. Most HCCs occur in a damaged cirrhotic background and it may be difficult to discriminate between regenerative nodules and early HCCs. No dependable molecular biomarker exists for the early detection of HCC. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have attracted attention as potential blood-based biomarkers. To identify circulating miRNAs with diagnostic potential in HCC, we performed preliminary RNAseq studies on plasma samples from a small set of HCC patients, cirrhotic patients and healthy controls. Then, out of the identified miRNAs, we investigated miR-101-3p, miR-106b-3p, miR-1246 and miR-411-5p in plasma of independent HCC patients' cohorts. The use of droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) confirmed the aberrant levels of these miRNAs. The diagnostic performances of each miRNA and their combinations were measured using Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analyses: a classifier consisting of miR-101-3p, miR-1246 and miR-106b-3p produced the best diagnostic precision in plasma of HCC vs. cirrhotic patients (AUC = 0.99). A similar performance was found when the levels of miRNAs of HCC patients were compared to healthy controls (AUC = 1.00). We extended the analyses of the same miRNAs to serum samples. In serum of HCC vs. cirrhotic patients, the combination of miR-101-3p and miR-106b-3p exhibited the best diagnostic accuracy with an AUC = 0.96. Thus, circulating miR-101-3p, miR-106b-3p and miR-1246, either individually or in combination, exhibit a considerable potential value as diagnostic biomarkers of HCC.
Project description:Background:Mounting evidences have demonstrated that HCC patients with or without cirrhosis possess different clinical characteristics, tumor development and prognosis. However, few studies directly investigated the underlying molecular mechanisms between non-cirrhotic HCC and cirrhotic HCC. Methods:The clinical information and RNA-seq data were downloaded from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) of HCC with or without cirrhosis were obtained by R software. Functional annotation and pathway enrichment analysis were performed by Enrichr. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) network was established through STRING and mapped to Cytoscape to identify hub genes. MicroRNAs were predicted through miRDB database. Furthermore, correlation analysis between selected genes and miRNAs were conducted via starBase database. MiRNAs expression levels between HCC with or without cirrhosis and corresponding normal liver tissues were further validated through GEO datasets. Finally, expression levels of key miRNAs and target genes were validated through qRT-PCR. Results:Between 132 non-cirrhotic HCC and 79 cirrhotic HCC in TCGA, 768 DEGs were acquired, mainly involved in neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction pathway. According to the result from gene expression analysis in TCGA, CCL19, CCL25, CNR1, PF4 and PPBP were renamed as key genes and selected for further investigation. Survival analysis indicated that upregulated CNR1 correlated with worse OS in cirrhotic HCC. Furthermore, ROC analysis revealed the significant diagnostic values of PF4 and PPBP in cirrhotic HCC, and CCL19, CCL25 in non-cirrhotic HCC. Next, 517 miRNAs were predicted to target the 5 key genes. Correlation analysis confirmed that 16 of 517 miRNAs were negatively regulated the key genes. By detecting the expression levels of these key miRNAs from GEO database, we found 4 miRNAs have high research values. Finally, potential miRNA-mRNA networks were constructed based on the results of qRT-PCR. Conclusion:In silico analysis, we first constructed the miRNA-mRNA regulatory networks in non-cirrhotic HCC and cirrhotic HCC.
Project description:Macroautophagy and chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) represent two major lysosomal degradation processes and often compensate for one another to facilitate cell survival. The aim of this study was to determine whether these autophagy pathways could compensate for one another to promote HCC cell survival in the cirrhotic liver. Analysis of normal liver tissue showed no expression of glypican-3 or p62 proteins, suggesting that macroautophagy is the major contributor to autophagic flux under non-pathological conditions. Of 46 cirrhotic livers with HCC examined, 39 (84%) of HCCs showed increased expression of p62, and 36 (78%) showed increased expression of glypican-3, while adjacent non-tumorous hepatocytes were negative for expression of p62 and glypican-3, similar to normal liver tissue. These results suggest that macroautophagy flux is impaired in HCC. Furthermore, more than 95% of HCCs showed altered expression of LAMP-2A compared to the surrounding non-tumorous cirrhotic liver, consistent with induction of CMA in HCC. Elevated expression of glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) and heat shock cognate protein (Hsc70) were detected in 100% of HCC and adjacent non-tumorous cirrhotic livers, suggesting that unresolved ER-stress is associated with HCC risk in liver cirrhosis. Interestingly, inhibition of lysosomal degradation using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) induced expression of the tumor suppressor p53, promoted apoptosis, and inhibited HCC growth, whereas activation of autophagy using an mTOR inhibitor (Torin1) promoted HCC growth. Results of this study suggest that induction of CMA compensates for the impairment of macroautophagy to promote HCC survival in the cirrhotic liver.
Project description:The most common causes of chronic liver disease are excess alcohol intake, viral hepatitis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, with the clinical spectrum ranging in severity from hepatic inflammation to cirrhosis, liver failure or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The genome of HCC exhibits diverse mutational signatures, resulting in recurrent mutations across more than 30 cancer genes<sup>1-7</sup>. Stem cells from normal livers have a low mutational burden and limited diversity of signatures<sup>8</sup>, which suggests that the complexity of HCC arises during the progression to chronic liver disease and subsequent malignant transformation. Here, by sequencing whole genomes of 482 microdissections of 100-500 hepatocytes from 5 normal and 9 cirrhotic livers, we show that cirrhotic liver has a higher mutational burden than normal liver. Although rare in normal hepatocytes, structural variants, including chromothripsis, were prominent in cirrhosis. Driver mutations, such as point mutations and structural variants, affected 1-5% of clones. Clonal expansions of millimetres in diameter occurred in cirrhosis, with clones sequestered by the bands of fibrosis that surround regenerative nodules. Some mutational signatures were universal and equally active in both non-malignant hepatocytes and HCCs; some were substantially more active in HCCs than chronic liver disease; and others-arising from exogenous exposures-were present in a subset of patients. The activity of exogenous signatures between adjacent cirrhotic nodules varied by up to tenfold within each patient, as a result of clone-specific and microenvironmental forces. Synchronous HCCs exhibited the same mutational signatures as background cirrhotic liver, but with higher burden. Somatic mutations chronicle the exposures, toxicity, regeneration and clonal structure of liver tissue as it progresses from health to disease.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>HMGA1 is a non-histone nuclear protein that regulates cellular proliferation, invasion and apoptosis and is overexpressed in many carcinomas. In this study we sought to explore the expression of HMGA1 in HCCs and cirrhotic tissues, and its effect in in vitro models.<h4>Methods</h4>We evaluated HMGA1 expression using gene expression microarrays (59 HCCs, of which 37 were matched with their corresponding cirrhotic tissue and 5 normal liver donors) and tissue microarray (192 HCCs, 108 cirrhotic tissues and 79 normal liver samples). HMGA1 expression was correlated with clinicopathologic features and patient outcome. Four liver cancer cell lines with stable induced or knockdown expression of HMGA1 were characterized using in vitro assays, including proliferation, migration and anchorage-independent growth.<h4>Results</h4>HMGA1 expression increased monotonically from normal liver tissues to cirrhotic tissue to HCC (P<.01) and was associated with Edmondson grade (P<.01). Overall, 51% and 42% of HCCs and cirrhotic tissues expressed HMGA1, respectively. Patients with HMGA1-positive HCCs had earlier disease progression and worse overall survival. Forced expression of HMGA1 in liver cancer models resulted in increased cell growth and migration, and vice versa. Soft agar assay showed that forced expression of HMGA1 led to increased foci formation, suggesting an oncogenic role of HMGA1 in hepatocarcinogenesis.<h4>Conclusions</h4>HMGA1 is frequently expressed in cirrhotic tissues and HCCs and its expression is associated with high Edmondson grade and worse prognosis in HCC. Our results suggest that HMGA1 may act as oncogenic driver of progression, implicating it in tumor growth and migration potential in liver carcinogenesis.
Project description:Liver cirrhotic patients suffer from a seemingly unpredictable risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Here, an HCC risk score R (0???R???1) was derived from commonly tested haematological and biochemical parameters. In the score-derivation Taiwanese cohort (144 cirrhosis versus 48 HCC-remission patients), the score had an area-under-the-curve (AUC) of 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61-0.78, P?<?0.001). When validated in a Korean cohort (78 cirrhosis versus 23 HCC-remission patients), the AUC was 0.68 (CI, 0.56-0.80, P?=?0.009). In a multicentre prospective cohort (478 cirrhotic patients prospectively followed for HCC occurrence), the hazard ratio with respect to R was 2.344 (CI?=?1.183-4.646, P?=?0.015). The cumulative incidences of HCC at two years after patient enrolment were 9.6% and 1.7% for the high-risk (R???0.5) and low-risk (R?<?0.5) groups, respectively (P?<?0.001). At the end of the study, the incidences were 10.9% and 5.0%, respectively (P?=?0.012). The majority of HCCs (23/26) in the high-risk group emerged within the first two years of follow-up. In conclusion, an HCC risk score was developed for cirrhotic patients that effectively predicted HCC in a prospective cohort study.
Project description:Exosomal microRNAs (exo-miRs) have been promising cancer biomarkers. MiRs in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell-derived exosomes (HEX) were analyzed to identify reliable serum biomarkers for HCC. To detect overexpressed miRs in HEX, extracted exosomal small RNAs from human HCC cell lines and normal hepatocytes were sequenced and analyzed. Clinical significance of the overexpressed miRs in HEX was evaluated using quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) on serum samples of a validation cohort consisting of 28 healthy individuals, 60 with chronic liver disease, and 90 with HCC. We found 49 significantly overexpressed miRs in HEX compared to a normal hepatocyte. Among them, miR-10b-5p, miR-18a-5p, miR-215-5p, and miR-940 were overexpressed in HCC tissues and also associated with prognosis of HCC in the analysis of a public omics database. qRT-PCR analysis of the four serum exo-miRs in the validation cohort revealed serum exo-miR-10b-5p as a promising biomarker for early-stage HCC with 0.934 area under the curve (AUC) (sensitivity, 90.7%; specificity, 75.0%; cutoff value, 1.8-fold). Overexpression of serum exo-miR-215-5p was found to be significantly associated with poor disease-free survival in patients with HCC. Serum exo-miR-10b-5p is a potential biomarker for early-stage HCC, while serum exo-miR-215-5p can be used as prognostic biomarker for HCC.