Background: A recent report showed that heat shock protein (HSP)-27 expression was related to histological grade and survival of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Aims: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of expression of HSP-27 on clinicopathological variables in Japanese patients with HCC. Methods: An immunohistochemical study for HSP-27 was performed on 60 HCC cases using a monoclonal anti-HSP-27 antibody. We divided 60 patients into two groups, patients with a low expression of HSP-27 (n = 34) and those with a high expression of HSP-27 (n = 26). Forty patients tested positive for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody and 20 tested positive for the hepatitis B surface antigen. Results: There appeared to be no relationship between HSP expression and clinicopathologic factors and no differences were observed between the high expression group and the low expression group. In the hepatitis B virus (HBV) group (n = 20), HSP-27 expression correlated significantly with prognosis, disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival. High expression was significantly associated with poor prognosis in the HBV group. In contrast, patients with a high expression tended to have a good prognosis in the HCV group (n = 40): DFS and overall survival. Conclusions: This study showed the possibility that HSP-27 plays different roles in HBV- and HCV-associated HCCs.
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