Purpose: Although hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common cancer of the human liver, the mechanisms that regulate HCC development and progression remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate whether focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is involved in the progression of human HCC. Experimental Design: Western blot analysis for FAK was performed on three HCC cell lines. We reviewed 64 consecutive patients who had undergone initial liver resection for HCC without preoperative treatment. Immunohistochemistry analysis for FAK was performed on paraffin-embedded tissues. FAK expression was confirmed by Western blot analysis in several clinical samples. We investigated the correlation between FAK expression and clinical outcome. Results: FAK proteins were detected in all HCC cell lines. Hepatocytes in the normal liver and chronic hepatitis with or without cirrhosis were negative for immunohistochemical staining for FAK expression. Cytoplasmic FAK expression was observed in 18 of 64 patients (28.1%), and this positive staining was correlated with gender (P < 0.05), a lower level of serum albumin (P < 0.05), and portal venous invasion (P < 0.01). Positive staining for FAK was associated with significantly poorer survival (P < 0.05). In multivariate analysis, FAK overexpression was an independent factor in determining the prognosis of patients. Conclusions: These data suggest that FAK plays an important role in promoting tumor progression, especially vascular invasion, in HCC. FAK could play an important role in HCC progression and would be a novel target for HCC therapeutics as well as a prognostic marker.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research