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Overexpression of Acyl-CoA Ligase 4 (ACSL4) in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma and its Prognosis

Xiao-Jie Sun, Ge-Liang Xu

Medical College of Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:4343-4350

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.906639

Available online:

Published: 2017-09-09


BACKGROUND: Recently, accumulating studies have found that ACSL4 dysregulation is related to a great number of malignant tumors. The purpose of the present study was to explore the relationship between ACSL4 expression level and clinical prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The Oncomine and TCGA databases were used to predict the expression of ACSL4 mRNA in HCC and its association with HCC prognosis. Further, immunohistochemistry was performed to verify the ACSL4 protein expression in 116 paired HCC and adjacent normal tissues. Kaplan-Meier and cox analysis were performed to validate the correlation between ACSL4 expression and HCC prognosis.
RESULTS: We first used the Oncomine database to find that ACSL4 mRNA expression level was significantly higher in HCC tissues than that in normal tissues (p all <0.001). The results were consistent with those in the TCGA database. Then, immunohistochemical results demonstrated that the ACSL4 positive expression rate was 70.7% in HCC tissues. ACSL4 differential expression level was significantly related to Edmondson grade (p=0.010), AFP (p=0.001) and TNM stage (p=0.012). Survival analysis revealed that both overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) time were remarkably reduced in HCC patients with ACSL4 high expression (p=0.001 and 0.000, respectively). Moreover, Cox multivariate analysis demonstrated that ACSL4 expression was the only independent prognostic factor for both OS and DFS (both p values=0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our study demonstrated that ACSL4 was overexpressed in HCC, and it will be a new potential therapeutic target for HCC as an independent adverse prognostic parameter.

Keywords: Acyl-CoA Oxidase, Carcinoma, Hepatocellular, Prognosis



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