Association of mortalin (HSPA9) with liver cancer metastasis and prediction for early tumor recurrence.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Molecular & cellular proteomics : MCP, Volume 7, Issue 2, p.315-25 (2008)


2008, Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Carcinoma, Hepatocellular, Cell Line, Tumor, Cluster Analysis, Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Hepatitis B virus, HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins, Humans, Liver Neoplasms, Male, MICE, Middle Aged, Molecular Sequence Data, Neoplasm Metastasis, Neoplasm Recurrence, Local, Neoplasm Staging, Prognosis, Proteome, Public Health Sciences Division, RNA, Messenger, ROC Curve, Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization, Tumor Markers, Biological


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is well known for poor prognosis and short survival because of high recurrence rate even after curative surgery. Today there is no available biomarker or biochemical test to indicate HCC recurrence, and this study aims to identify protein markers that can discriminate postoperative patients with early recurrence (ER), i.e. disease relapsed within the first year. In this study, 103 hepatitis B-related HCC patients were recruited, and 68 of them were used for ER-related biomarker discovery study. Proteomic expression patterns of matched tumor and adjacent non-tumor tissues from these patients plus 16 normal liver tissues were delineated by the two-dimensional gel electrophoresis differential profiling method. Significant protein spots were evaluated by hierarchical clustering analysis. SSP4612 that yielded the highest receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve value for the ER subgroup of HCC was subsequently identified by tandem mass spectrometry, and the corresponding expression patterns were further confirmed by quantitative PCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry. Correlation analysis with clinicopathological data was also examined. Proteomic profiling analysis revealed overexpression of mortalin (gene HSPA9) in HCC when compared with the non-tumor and normal liver tissues (area under the curve (AUC) = 0.821). Furthermore, elevated mortalin level was also detected in the ER subgroup of HCC versus the recurrence-free state (where no cancer recurs for >1 year) (AUC = 0.833, sensitivity = 90.9%, specificity = 71.4%). Metastatic HCC cell lines also exhibited higher levels of mortalin and HSPA9 mRNA. Clinically, mortalin overexpression in HCC was closely associated with advanced tumor stages and venous infiltration, having implications for increased malignancy and aggressive behavior. Mortalin (HSPA9) is associated with HCC metastasis and thus suggested as a tumor marker for predicting early recurrence, which may have immediate clinical applications for cancer surveillance after curative surgery.