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Low PLCE1 levels are correlated with poor prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma

Authors Cheng Y, Xing SG, Jia WD, Huang M, Bian NN

Received 2 November 2016

Accepted for publication 23 November 2016

Published 19 December 2016 Volume 2017:10 Pages 47—54


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Ru Chen

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr William Cho

Ya Cheng,1,2,* Song-Ge Xing,2,3,* Wei-Dong Jia,1,2 Mei Huang,1,2 Na-Na Bian2

1Department of General Surgery, Affiliated Provincial Hospital, Anhui Medical University, 2Anhui Province Key Laboratory of Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery, 3CAS Key Laboratory of Innate Immunity and Chronic Disease, Innovation Center for Cell Signaling Network, School of Life Science, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Previous reports show that phospholipase C epsilon-1 (PLCE1) expression is positively correlated with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and gastric cardia adenocarcinomas; however, the expression of PLCE1 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and its correlation with clinical outcome still remain unclear. The aim of this study was to explore the expression of PLCE1 in HCC tissue and to determine whether PLCE1 was a prognostic factor for HCC patients.
Materials and methods: PLCE1 levels in 20 paired HCC tissues and corresponding paracarcinomatous tissues was investigated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot assays. In addition, protein levels of PLCE1 in one normal liver epithelial cell and four HCC cell lines were examined using Western blot assay. Moreover, immunohistochemistry was applied to determine the expression of PLCE1 in HCC and corresponding surrounding tissues from 90 patients. Statistical analyses were used to examine the association between PLCE1 levels and clinicopathological features.
We found that the expression of PLCE1 in tumor tissues was significantly lower than those in paracarcinomatous tissues at both mRNA and protein levels (P<0.05). We also determined that PLCE1 protein expression levels were lower in HCC cell lines than normal liver epithelial cells (P<0.05). Notably, immunohistochemical assay showed that PLCE1 expression was significantly low in HCC tissues compared with the adjacent normal liver tissues (40% vs 18.9%; P<0.05). Besides, PLCE1 levels were negatively correlated with tumor capsulae, vascular invasion, Edmondson grade, alpha-fetoprotein, and tumor-node-metastasis stage (P<0.05). Univariate analysis revealed that lower level expression of PLCE1 was significantly associated with poorer overall survival (OS) rate (P<0.001) and disease-free survival rate (P<0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed that low PLCE1 level was an independent poor prognostic factor of OS and recurrence-free survival (P<0.001 and P=0.003, respectively).
Conclusion: In brief, our results revealed that decreased PLCE1 expression was associated with tumor progression in HCC and may function as a promising biomarker for HCC prognosis.

Keywords: PLCE1, hepatocellular carcinoma, prognosis, immunohistochemistry

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