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Qifan Zhang, Shibo Sun, Chen Zhu, Fang Xie, Qing Cai, Hang Sun, Gang Chen, Xiaolu Liang, Haorong Xie, Jie Shi, Yan Liao, Jie Zhou
(Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China (mainland))
Med Sci Monit 2018; 24:6218-6228
Allograft inflammatory factor-1 (AIF-1) is a cytoplasmic protein cloned from activated macrophages in human and rat allografts. AIF-1 has been identified as a modulator of inflammatory response, and recently published studies have shown its increased expression in carcinogenesis. However, there are still limited data on the potential functional role of AIF-1 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We evaluated the expression of AIF-1 in 104 cases of paired HCC and adjacent non-cancerous liver tissues using immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and qPCR analysis, and sought to determine whether its expression was correlated with clinicopathological features. In vitro assays, including cell proliferation and migration assays, were used to study the effects of AIF-1 knockdown in L02 human hepatocyte, and Huh7 and SMMC7721 liver cancer cell lines.
RESULTS: Expression of AIF-1 was increased in HCC compared to adjacent normal liver tissues and was positively correlated with median tumor size (p=0.046), number of tumor deposits (p=0.009), the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage (p=0.004), and portal vein tumor thrombus (PVTT) (p<0.001). Huh7 and SMMC7721 human HCC cells demonstrated upregulated AIF-1 expression compared to normal hepatocytes. Small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated silencing of AIF-1 expression resulted in a reduction in cell proliferation and migration in human HCC cells.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest AIF-1 may have roles as a diagnostic or prognostic biomarker and a promising therapeutic target in HCC.