The prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) may be improved by novel treatments focusing on the characteristic metabolic changes of this disease. Therefore, we analyzed the biological interactions of metabolic features with the degree of tumor differentiation and the level of malignant potential in 41 patients with completely resectable HCC. The expression levels in resected samples of mRNAs encoded by genes related to tumor metabolism and metastasis were investigated, and the correlation between these expression levels and degrees of differentiation was analyzed. Of the 41 patients, 2 patients had grade I, 27 had grade II, and 12 had grade III tumors. Reductions in the levels of 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (HADHA) and acyl-CoA oxidase (ACOX)-2 mRNAs, and increases in pyruvate kinase isoenzyme type M2 (PKM2) mRNA were significantly correlated with the progression of de-differentiation. Analysis of partial correlation coefficients showed that the level of PKM2 mRNA expression was significantly correlated with those of pro-angiogenic genes, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and ETS-1. Moreover, the levels of VEGF-A and ETS-1 mRNA expression were independently correlated with that of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) related gene SNAIL. These findings suggest that reductions in fatty acid oxidation and responses to hypoxia may affect the progression of malignant phenotypes in HCC.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research