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Overexpression of c-kit(CD117), relevant with microvessel density, is an independent survival prognostic factor for patients with HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma

Authors Yan W, Zhu Z, Pan F, Huang A, Dai G

Received 20 November 2017

Accepted for publication 7 February 2018

Published 7 March 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 1285—1292


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr XuYu Yang

Weiwei Yan,1,* Zhenyu Zhu,2,* Fei Pan,3 Ang Huang,4 Guang-hai Dai1

1Medical Oncology Department, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing, China; 2Department of Liver Metastasis, Hepatobiliary Surgery Center, Beijing 302 Hospital, Beijing, China; 3Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing, China; 4Department of Alcoholic Liver Disease and Autoimmune Liver Disease, Center of Non-infectious Liver Diseases, Beijing 302 Hospital, Beijing, China
*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: To explore new biomarkers for indicating the recurrence and prognosis in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients after tumor resection, we investigated the expression and prognostic value of c-kit(CD117) in HBV-related HCC.
Materials and methods: Immunohistochemistry was used to estimate the expression of c-kit(CD117) and CD34 in the liver cancer tissues. The correlations between the expression of these biomarkers and the clinicopathologic characteristics were analyzed.
Results: The positive rate of c-kit(CD117) expression in 206 HCC cases was 48.1%, and c-kit expression was significantly related with CD34-positive microvessel density. CD34-microvessel density numbers were much higher in c-kit(+) HCC tissues than in c-kit(-) HCC tissues (44.13±17.01 vs 26.87±13.16, P=0.003). The expression of c-kit was significantly higher in patients with Edmondson grade III–IV (P<0.001) and TNM stage III (P<0.001). Moreover, Kaplan–Meier survival analysis showed that c-kit (P<0.001) expression was correlated with reduced disease-free survival (DFS). Multivariate analysis identified c-kit as an independent poor prognostic factor of DFS in HCC patients (P<0.001).
Conclusion: Increased c-kit expression could be considered as an independent unfavorable prognostic factor for predicting DFS in HBV-related HCC patients after surgery. These results could be used to identify patients at a higher risk of early tumor recurrence and poor prognosis.

Keywords: c-kit, CD34, hepatocellular carcinoma, prognosis, immunohistochemistry

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