Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition Markers in HCVAssociated Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Multivariate Follow Up Study

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo Egypt.

2 October University for Modern Science and Arts, Giza, Egypt.

3 Department of Pathology, National Liver Institute, Menoufia University, Egypt.

4 Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo Egypt.

5 Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Six October University, Cairo, Egypt.


Objective: Validated markers to predict recurrence after surgical resection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are needed. Little data is available regarding epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers in HCC. The objective of this study was to investigate the expression of EMT markers and their correlation with clinicopathological variables and survival in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated HCC. Methods: This longitudinal study included 109 cases of HCV-associated HCC treated with surgical resection. Nine different EMT markers (vimentin, E-cadherin, N-cadherin, Stat3, Snail1, Slug, Twist1, Zeb1 and integrin α5) were evaluated on liver tissue from HCC cases. Twenty fresh HCC samples from the studied cases were used for gene expression of EMT markers by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results: EMT markers expression was 71%, 25%, 26%, 27%, 9%, 4%, 72%, 47%, 87% for vimentin, E-cadherin, N-cadherin, Stat3 snail1, slug, twist1, Zeb1 and integrin α5 respectively.  EMT mRNA in HCC tissues correlated with protein expression by 50-70%.  Vimentin was independent predictor of large tumor size (P=0.001), high risk of recurrence (HRR) (P=0.006) and shorter disease free survival (P=0.03) in multivariate analysis.  Reduced E-cadherin was a predictor of HRR (P=0.002). Conclusion: Vimentin and E-cadherin were the most powerful prognostic EMT markers in HCV-associated HCC in prediction of recurrence. 


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