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Promising diagnostic and prognostic value of E2Fs in human hepatocellular carcinoma

Authors Huang Y, Ning G, Chen L, Lian Y, Gu Y, Wang J, Chen D, Wei H, Huang Y

Received 31 July 2018

Accepted for publication 13 January 2019

Published 19 February 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 1725—1740


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Nakshatri

Yan-Lin Huang,1,2,* Gang Ning,1,* Lu-Biao Chen,1,* Yi-Fan Lian,2 Yu-Rong Gu,1,2 Jia-Liang Wang,2 Dong-Mei Chen,2 Huan Wei,2 Yue-Hua Huang1,2

1Department of Infectious Diseases, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China; 2Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Liver Disease Research, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: A growing body of evidence suggests that E2Fs, by regulating gene expression related to cell cycle progression and other cellular processes, play a pivotal role in human cancer. However, the distinct roles of each E2F in the development and treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain unknown. In the present study, the mRNA expression and prognostic value of different E2Fs in HCC are analyzed.
Materials and methods: Transcriptional and survival data related to E2F expression in patients with HCC were obtained through ONCOMINE and UALCAN databases. Survival analysis plots were drawn with Kaplan–Meier Plotter. The sequence alteration data for E2Fs were obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas and c-BioPortal. Gene functional enrichment analyses were performed in Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery.
Results: The mRNA expression levels of E2F1–E2F8 were all significantly upregulated in HCC patients, and high expression of each E2F was obviously related to poor prognosis. Similarly, the expression of E2Fs showed prognostic prediction value in HCC patients with different cancer stages and pathological grades. Moreover, the mutation rate of E2Fs was relatively high in HCC patients, and the DNA sequence alterations primarily occurred in E2F5, E2F3, and E2F6, which were associated with worse overall survival and disease-free survival in HCC patients. Network analysis confirmed that the expression levels of cell cycle-related genes were mostly affected by E2F mutations.
Conclusion: High expression of individual E2Fs was associated with poor prognosis in all liver cancer patients. E2Fs may be exploited as good prognostic targets for comprehensive management of HCC patients, but this notion should be further evaluated in clinical studies.

Keywords: HCC, E2F, prognosis, ONCOMINE, Kaplan–Meier plotter

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