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Open Access Research article

Overexpression of phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase type IIIα is associated with undifferentiated status and poor prognosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma

Adeodat Ilboudo134, Jean-Charles Nault56, Hélène Dubois-Pot-Schneider234, Anne Corlu234, Jessica Zucman-Rossi56, Michel Samson134 and Jacques Le Seyec134*

Author Affiliations

1 INSERM, UMR-1085, Institut de Recherche Santé Environnement & Travail (IRSET), F-35043, Rennes, France

2 INSERM, UMR-991, Liver Metabolisms and Cancer, F-35033, Rennes, France

3 Université de Rennes 1, F-35043, Rennes, France

4 Fédération de Recherche BioSit de Rennes, F-35043, Rennes, France

5 INSERM, UMR-674, Génomique fonctionnelle des tumeurs solides, IUH, Paris F-75010, France

6 Université Paris Descartes, Labex Immuno-oncology, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Faculté de Médecine, Paris, France

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:7  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-7

Published: 6 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a particularly severe disease characterized by a high rate of recurrence and death even after surgical resection. Molecular characterization of HCC helps refine prognosis and may facilitate the development of improved therapy. Phosphatidylinositol 4-kinases have recently been identified as cellular factors associated with cancer. Also, phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase type IIIα (PI4KA) is necessary for the propagation of the hepatitis C virus, a major etiological factor for HCC.

Methods

Reverse transcription, quantitative real-time PCR was used to assay PI4KA mRNA. The expression levels were investigated both in a collection of molecularly and clinically characterized hepatic tissues from 344 patients with diverse liver diseases and in human hepatocyte cell lines whose proliferative and differentiation status was controlled by specific culture conditions. Analytical microarray data for 60 HCC and six normal liver tissue samples were exploited to study correlations between PI4KA mRNA levels and cell proliferation markers in vivo. Postoperative disease-specific survival and time to recurrence in a set of 214 patients with HCC were studied by univariate and multivariate analyses.

Results

PI4KA mRNA was more abundant in HCC than normal healthy tissues. This upregulation correlated significantly with both poor differentiation and the active proliferation rate in HCC. These associations were confirmed with in vitro models. Moreover, patients with HCC who had been treated by surgical resection and had higher PI4KA mRNA concentrations in their tumor tissue exhibited a higher risk of tumor recurrence (median time: 20 months versus 49 months, P = 0.0012) and shorter disease-specific survival (first quartile time: 16 months versus 48 months, P = 0.0004). Finally, the abundance of PI4KA mRNA proved to be an independent prognostic marker of survival for cases of HCC (hazard ratio = 2.36, P = 0.0064).

Conclusions

PI4KA mRNA could be used as a new molecular marker to improve established prognostic models for HCC. These findings also indicate possible new lines of research for the development of innovative therapeutic approaches targeting PI4KA.

Keywords:
Hepatocellular carcinoma; PI4KA; Biomarker; Prognosis