Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 29 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Mutated Genes and Abnormal Protein Expression (4)

How to use this data tableClicking on the Gene or Topic will take you to a separate more detailed page. Sort this list by clicking on a column heading e.g. 'Gene' or 'Topic'.

CTNNB1 3p22.1 CTNNB, MRD19, armadillo -CTNNB1 and Hepatoblastoma
IGF2 11p15.5 GRDF, IGF-II, PP9974, C11orf43 -IGF2 and Hepatoblastoma
SLC22A18 11p15.4 HET, ITM, BWR1A, IMPT1, TSSC5, ORCTL2, BWSCR1A, SLC22A1L, p45-BWR1A -SLC22A18 and Hepatoblastoma
ETV3 1q23.1 PE1, METS, PE-1 -ETV3 and Hepatoblastoma

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications

Stafman LL, Waldrop MG, Williams AP, et al.
The presence of PIM3 increases hepatoblastoma tumorigenesis and tumor initiating cell phenotype and is associated with decreased patient survival.
J Pediatr Surg. 2019; 54(6):1206-1213 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Hepatoblastoma is the most common primary liver cancer of childhood and has few prognostic indicators. We have previously shown that Proviral Integration site for Moloney murine leukemia virus (PIM3) kinase decreased hepatoblastoma tumorigenicity. We sought to determine the effect of PIM3 overexpression on hepatoblastoma cells and whether expression of PIM3 correlated with patient/tumor characteristics or survival.
METHODS: The hepatoblastoma cell line, HuH6, and patient-derived xenograft, COA67, were utilized. Viability, proliferation, migration, sphere formation, and tumor growth in mice were assessed in PIM3-overexpressing cells. Immunohistochemistry was performed for PIM3 on patient samples. Correlation between stain score and clinical/pathologic characteristics was assessed.
RESULTS: PIM3 overexpression rescued the anti-proliferative effect observed with PIM3 knockdown. Sphere formation was increased in PIM3 overexpressing cells. Cells with PIM3 overexpression yielded larger tumors than those with empty vector. Seventy-four percent of samples expressed PIM3. There was no statistical difference in patient characteristics between subjects with strong versus weak PIM3 staining, but patients with strong PIM3 staining had decreased survival.
CONCLUSIONS: PIM3 expression plays a role in hepatoblastoma tumorigenesis. PIM3 was present in the majority of hepatoblastomas and higher PIM3 expression correlated with decreased survival. PIM3 warrants investigation as a therapeutic target and prognostic marker for hepatoblastoma.

Quan M, Liu S, Zhou L, et al.
Hepatitis C virus nonstructural 5A protein inhibits the starvation‑induced apoptosis of hepatoblastoma cells by increasing Beclin 1 expression.
Oncol Rep. 2019; 41(5):3051-3059 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A) modulates cellular apoptosis, which is involved in the occurrence and development of liver cancer. The mechanisms of apoptosis inhibition by NS5A in liver cancer cells remains unclear. Beclin 1, which functions upstream of autophagosome formation, is upregulated by NS5A. Autophagy, an evolutionarily conserved catabolic process, has a crucial role in tumor initiation and progression. Autophagy was blocked by inhibitors 3‑methyladenine and chloroquine, or via knockdown of Beclin 1. Flow cytometric analysis and western blotting were used to detect apoptosis. It was found that inhibition of autophagy attenuated the NS5A‑mediated apoptosis inhibition of HepG2 cells. Furthermore, it was confirmed that Beclin 1 expression by NS5A was involved in the negative regulation of starvation‑induced liver cancer apoptosis, which was accompanied by reduced p53 and apoptosis regulator Bax expression, as well as decreased caspase‑3/-7 activation. Therefore, inhibition of autophagy may be promising therapeutic strategy in the treatment of HCV‑associated liver cancer.

Eberherr C, Beck A, Vokuhl C, et al.
Targeting excessive MYCN expression using MLN8237 and JQ1 impairs the growth of hepatoblastoma cells.
Int J Oncol. 2019; 54(5):1853-1863 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatoblastoma (HB) is the most common liver tumor in children under the age of 3 years worldwide. While many patients achieve good outcomes with surgical resection and conventional chemotherapy, there is still a high‑risk population that exhibits a poor treatment response and unfavorable prognosis, which warrants the search for novel treatment options. In recent years, it has become clear that genetic events alone are not sufficient to explain the aggressive phenotype of this embryonal malignancy. Instead, epigenetic modifications and aberrant gene expression seem to be key drivers of HB. In the present study, expression analyses such as reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction revealed that the oncogene, MYCN proto‑oncogene basic‑helix‑loop‑helix transcription factor (MYCN) was upregulated in HB and other pediatric liver tumors, due to the transcriptional activity of its antisense transcript MYCN opposite strand (MYCNOS). Pyrosequencing demonstrated the hypomethylated regions in the promoter of MYCN and MYCNOS, suggesting that an epigenetic mechanism may underlie the induction of aberrant expression. Transient MYCN knockdown in HB cells resulted in growth inhibition over time. In addition, treating HB cells with the MYCN inhibitors JQ1 and MLN8237 led to the significant downregulation of MYCN either at the mRNA or protein levels, respectively. The underlying mechanism of action of the two inhibitors was revealed to be associated with the induction of dose‑dependent growth arrest, by arresting cells at either the G1/G0 or G2 phase. Furthermore, MLN8237 and JQ1 were able to cause spindle disturbances and/or apoptosis in HB cells. The present results suggest that MYCN may be a promising biomarker for HB and a potential therapeutic target in patients with tumors overexpressing MYCN.

Trobaugh-Lotrario AD, López-Terrada D, Li P, Feusner JH
Hepatoblastoma in patients with molecularly proven familial adenomatous polyposis: Clinical characteristics and rationale for surveillance screening.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2018; 65(8):e27103 [PubMed] Related Publications
Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) due to APC mutation is associated with an increased risk of hepatoblastoma. All cases of hepatoblastoma in patients with FAP reported in the literature were reviewed. One hundred and nine patients were identified. Thirty-five patients (of 49 with data) were diagnosed with hepatoblastoma prior to a later diagnosis of FAP (often in association with advanced colorectal carcinoma), emphasizing a need to identify patients earlier with germline APC mutations for early colorectal carcinoma screening. Hepatoblastoma may present at birth, and screening for hepatoblastoma in infancy in families with FAP prior to APC mutation testing results may be warranted.

Inoue A, Suzuki R, Urabe K, et al.
Therapeutic experience with hepatoblastoma associated with trisomy 18.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2018; 65(8):e27093 [PubMed] Related Publications
Trisomy 18 is often fatal, but patients with this disease can now have longer survival due to proactive treatment intervention. However, hepatoblastomas may develop in these patients. In this study, we report four cases of hepatoblastoma associated with trisomy 18. All of the patients had congenital heart disease and three had undergone intracardiac surgical repair. Tumor growth was relatively slow in all cases, and there were no problems with chemotherapy tolerability and surgical resection. Three of the patients are currently disease-free and the fourth is alive with remaining of the tumor. These cases suggest that combined chemotherapy and surgical resection may be an option to treat hepatoblastoma associated with trisomy 18 when cardiac pulmonary function is relatively stable.

Lv B, Zhang L, Miao R, et al.
Comprehensive analysis and experimental verification of LINC01314 as a tumor suppressor in hepatoblastoma.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2018; 98:783-792 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatoblastoma (HB), as a common pediatric liver malignancy, is composed of a variety of subgroups with different clinical outcomes. Long-noncoding RNA (lncRNA) has crucial roles in cancer biology. However, the association between lncRNA and HB has not been fully investigated. In this study, we screened lncRNA expression profiles that were annotated from the GSE75271 dataset. A total of 225 differentially expressed lncRNAs (DELs) were identified based on comparison between three prognostic subgroups, and seven of them (XR_241302, XR_923061, NR_038322, XR_951687, XR_934593, NR_120317 and XR_93406) that exhibited highly predictive accuracies were selected for functional analysis. Weighted gene correlation network analysis (WGCNA) was employed to predict the biological functions of the seven DELs. The Hippo-YAP signaling pathway was predicted to be the most statistically significant predicted pathway associated with the seven DELs. Furthermore, we performed in vitro experiments to validate the biological function of one DEL, NR_120317 (LINC01314). Our results showed decreased proliferation and migration activities of HB cells overexpressing LINC01314. Moreover, mechanistic investigations revealed that LINC01314 overexpression inhibited nuclear translocation of YAP, by inducing MST1 expression and promoting phosphorylation of LATS1 and YAP, consequently downregulating the expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins (MCM7 and cyclin D1). Taken together, our findings provide evidence for LINC01314 as a potential biomarker and anti-cancer therapeutic target in patients with HB.

Beck A, Trippel F, Wagner A, et al.
Overexpression of
Clin Epigenetics. 2018; 10:27 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
Background: Hepatoblastoma (HB) is the most common liver tumor of childhood and occurs predominantly within the first 3 years of life. In accordance to its early manifestation, HB has been described to display an extremely low mutation rate. As substitute, epigenetic modifiers seem to play an exceptional role in its tumorigenesis, which holds promise to develop targeted therapies and establish biomarkers for patient risk stratification.
Results: We examined the role of a newly described protein complex consisting of three epigenetic regulators, namely E3 ubiquitin-like containing PHD and RING finger domain 1 (UHRF1), ubiquitin-specific-processing protease 7 (USP7), and DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1), in HB. We found the complex to be located on the promoter regions of the pivotal HB-associated tumor suppressor genes (TSGs)
Conclusion: These findings suggest that UHRF1 is critical for aberrant TSG silencing and sustained growth signaling in HB and that

Yang A, Sisson R, Gupta A, et al.
Germline APC mutations in hepatoblastoma.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2018; 65(4) [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Conflicting reports on the frequency of germline adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene mutations in patients with hepatoblastoma (HB) have called into question the clinical value of APC mutation testing on apparently sporadic HB.
METHODS: An Institutional Review Board approved retrospective review of clinical data collected from patients with HB who received APC testing at our institution was conducted. All HB patients seen at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center were eligible for testing. Potential genotype/phenotype correlations were assessed.
RESULTS: As of July 2015, 29 patients with HB had received constitutional APC testing. Four (14%) were found to have APC pathogenic truncations of the APC protein and in addition two (7%) had APC missense variants of unknown clinical significance. Two patients (7%) had family histories indicative of familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). Response to chemotherapy tracked differently in APC pathogenic cases, with a slower imaging response despite an equivalent or slightly faster α-fetoprotein (AFP) response.
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of pathogenic APC variants in apparently sporadic HB may be higher than previously detected. Differences in time to imaging response, despite similar AFP response, may impact surgical planning. All patients with HB warrant germline APC mutation testing for underlying FAP.

Hooks KB, Audoux J, Fazli H, et al.
New insights into diagnosis and therapeutic options for proliferative hepatoblastoma.
Hepatology. 2018; 68(1):89-102 [PubMed] Related Publications
Surgery and cisplatin-based treatment of hepatoblastoma (HB) currently guarantee the survival of 70%-80% of patients. However, some important challenges remain in diagnosing high-risk tumors and identifying relevant targetable pathways offering new therapeutic avenues. Previously, two molecular subclasses of HB tumors have been described, C1 and C2, with C2 being the subgroup with the poorest prognosis, a more advanced tumor stage, and the worst overall survival rate. An associated 16-gene signature to discriminate the two tumoral subgroups was proposed, but it has not been transferred into clinical routine. To address these issues, we performed RNA sequencing of 25 tumors and matched normal liver samples from patients. The transcript profiling separated HB into three distinct subgroups named C1, C2A, and C2B, identifiable by a concise four-gene signature: hydroxysteroid 17-beta dehydrogenase 6, integrin alpha 6, topoisomerase 2-alpha, and vimentin, with topoisomerase 2-alpha being characteristic for the proliferative C2A tumors. Differential expression of these genes was confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR on an expanded cohort and by immunohistochemistry. We also revealed significant overexpression of genes involved in the Fanconi anemia (FA) pathway in the C2A subgroup. We then investigated the ability of several described FA inhibitors to block growth of HB cells in vitro and in vivo. We demonstrated that bortezomib, a Food and Drug Administration-approved proteasome inhibitor, strongly impairs the proliferation and survival of HB cell lines in vitro, blocks FA pathway-associated double-strand DNA repair, and significantly impedes HB growth in vivo.
CONCLUSION: The highly proliferating C2A subtype is characterized by topoisomerase 2-alpha gene up-regulation and FA pathway activation, and the HB therapeutic arsenal could include bortezomib for the treatment of patients with the most aggressive tumors. (Hepatology 2018;68:89-102).

Lee H, El Jabbour T, Ainechi S, et al.
General paucity of genomic alteration and low tumor mutation burden in refractory and metastatic hepatoblastoma: comprehensive genomic profiling study.
Hum Pathol. 2017; 70:84-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatoblastoma (HBL) is a hepatic malignancy of infants and young children, which is often cured by combinations of surgery and chemotherapy. Management of refractory and metastatic HBL is challenging. Comprehensive genomic profiling was performed on 31 refractory and metastatic HBL using a hybrid-capture, adaptor ligation-based next-generation sequencing assay. Tumor mutation burden (TMB) was calculated from a minimum of 1.11 Mb of sequenced DNA and reported as mutations/Mb. The results were analyzed for all classes of genomic alterations (GA). Activating CTNNB1 mutation was the most frequent GA seen in 19 (61%) of cases. All 3 (100%) mixed epithelial and mesenchymal HBL harbored CTNNB1 mutation. The small cell undifferentiated subtype showed SMARCB1 loss in both cases. There was no significant further correlation of GA with histologic subtype. In addition to the potential targeting of CTNNB1, other rarely identified possible targetable GA included ERBB4 (6%) and FBXW7, SRC and BRCA2 (each at 3%). The mean TMB was 3.5 mut/Mb, the median was 1.7 mut/Mb. There were 2 HBL with ≥10 mut/Mb. No alterations in TP53 were identified, and alterations in the DNA repair pathways were rare. Refractory and metastatic HBL is characterized by a general paucity of GA and is dominated by frequent CTNNB1 mutation and overall low TMB. Although potentially targetable GA are seen on occasion in HBL and a small number of cases have high TMB with potential to respond to immune checkpoint inhibitors, advanced HBL will remain a treatment challenge.

Valanejad L, Lewis K, Wright M, et al.
FXR-Gankyrin axis is involved in development of pediatric liver cancer.
Carcinogenesis. 2017; 38(7):738-747 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
The development of hepatoblastoma (HBL) is associated with failure of hepatic stem cells (HSC) to differentiate into hepatocytes. Despite intensive investigations, mechanisms of the failure of HSC to differentiate are not known. We found that oncogene Gankyrin (Gank) is involved in the inhibition of differentiation of HSC via triggering degradation of tumor suppressor proteins (TSPs) Rb, p53, C/EBPα and HNF4α. Our data show that the activation of a repressor of Gank, farnesoid X receptor, FXR, after initiation of liver cancer by Diethylnitrosamine (DEN) prevents the development of liver cancer by inhibiting Gank and rescuing tumor suppressor proteins. We next analyzed FXR-Gank-Tumor suppressor pathways in a large cohort of HBL patients which include 6 controls and 53 HBL samples. Systemic analysis of these samples and RNA-Seq approach revealed that the FXR-Gank axis is activated; markers of hepatic stem cells are dramatically elevated and hepatocyte markers are reduced in HBL samples. In the course of these studies, we found that RNA binding protein CUGBP1 is a new tumor suppressor protein which is reduced in all HBL samples. Therefore, we generated CUGBP1 KO mice and examined HBL signatures in the liver of these mice. Micro-array studies revealed that the HBL-specific molecular signature is developed in livers of CUGBP1 KO mice at very early ages. Thus, we conclude that FXR-Gank-TSPs-Stem cells pathway is a key determinant of liver cancer in animal models and in pediatric liver cancer. Our data provide a strong basis for development of FXR-Gank-based therapy for treatment of patients with hepatoblastoma.

Rutter S, Morotti RA, Peterec S, Gallagher PG
Hepatic Malignancy in an Infant with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome.
Fetal Pediatr Pathol. 2017; 36(3):256-262 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome (WHS) is a contiguous gene syndrome involving deletions of the chromosome 4p16 region associated with growth failure, characteristic craniofacial abnormalities, cardiac defects, and seizures.
CASE REPORT: This report describes a six-month-old girl with WHS with growth failure and typical craniofacial features who died of complex congenital heart disease. Genetic studies revealed a 9.8 Mb chromosome 4p-terminal deletion. At autopsy, the liver was grossly unremarkable. Routine sampling and histologic examination revealed two hepatocellular nodular lesions with expanded cell plates and mild cytologic atypia. Immunohistochemical staining revealed these nodules were positive for glutamine synthetase and glypican 3, with increased Ki-67 signaling and diffuse CD34 expression in sinusoidal endothelium. These findings are consistent with hepatoblastoma or hepatocellular carcinoma.
CONCLUSIONS: A possible association between WHS and hepatic malignancy may be an important consideration in the care and management of WHS patients.

Dong R, Liu XQ, Zhang BB, et al.
Long non-coding RNA-CRNDE: a novel regulator of tumor growth and angiogenesis in hepatoblastoma.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(26):42087-42097 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are involved in many biological processes, such as angiogenesis, invasion, cell proliferation, and apoptosis. They have emerged as key players in the pathology of several tumors, including hepatoblastoma. In this study, we elucidate the biological and clinical significance of CRNDE up-regulation in hepatoblastoma. CRNDE is significantly up-regulated in human hepatoblastoma specimens and metastatic hepatoblastoma cell lines. CRNDE knockdown reduces tumor growth and tumor angiogenesis in vivo, and decreases hepatoblastoma cell viability, proliferation, and angiogenic effect in vitro. Mechanistic studies show that CRNDE knockdown plays its anti-proliferation and anti-angiogenesis role via regulating mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling. Taken together, this study reveals a crucial role of CRNDE in the pathology of hepatoblastoma. CRNDE may serve as a promising diagnostic marker and therapeutic target for hepatoblastoma.

Bell D, Ranganathan S, Tao J, Monga SP
Novel Advances in Understanding of Molecular Pathogenesis of Hepatoblastoma: A Wnt/β-Catenin Perspective.
Gene Expr. 2017; 17(2):141-154 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
Hepatoblastoma is the most common pediatric liver malignancy, typically striking children within the first 3 years of their young lives. While advances in chemotherapy and newer surgical techniques have improved survival in patients with localized disease, unfortunately, for the 25% of patients with metastasis, the overall survival remains poor. These tumors, which are thought to arise from hepatic progenitors or hepatoblasts, hence the name hepatoblastoma, can be categorized by histological subtyping based on their level of cell differentiation. Genomic and histological analysis of human tumor samples has shown exon-3 deletions or missense mutations in gene coding for β-catenin, a downstream effector of the Wnt signaling pathway, in up to 90% of hepatoblastoma cases. The current article will review key aberrations in molecular pathways that are implicated in various subtypes of hepatoblastoma with an emphasis on Wnt signaling. It will also discuss cooperation among components of pathways such as β-catenin and Yes-associated protein in cancer development. Understanding the complex network of molecular signaling in oncogenesis will undoubtedly aid in the discovery of new therapeutics to help combat hepatoblastoma.

Ranganathan S, Ningappa M, Ashokkumar C, et al.
Loss of EGFR-ASAP1 signaling in metastatic and unresectable hepatoblastoma.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:38347 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
Hepatoblastoma (HBL), the most common childhood liver cancer is cured with surgical resection after chemotherapy or with liver transplantation if local invasion and multifocality preclude resection. However, variable survival rates of 60-80% and debilitating chemotherapy sequelae argue for more informed treatment selection, which is not possible by grading the Wnt-β-catenin over activity present in most HBL tumors. A hypothesis-generating whole transcriptome analysis shows that HBL tumors removed at transplantation are enriched most for cancer signaling pathways which depend predominantly on epidermal growth factor (EGF) signaling, and to a lesser extent, on aberrant Wnt-β-catenin signaling. We therefore evaluated whether EGFR, ASAP1, ERBB2 and ERBB4, which signal downstream after ligation of EGF, and which show aberrant expression in several other invasive cancers, would also predict HBL tumor invasiveness. Immunohistochemistry of HBL tumors (n = 60), which are histologically heterogeneous, shows that compared with well-differentiated fetal cells, less differentiated embryonal and undifferentiated small cells (SCU) progressively lose EGFR and ASAP1 expression. This trend is exaggerated in unresectable, locally invasive or metastatic tumors, in which embryonal tumor cells are EGFR-negative, while SCU cells are EGFR-negative and ASAP1-negative. Loss of EGFR-ASAP1 signaling characterizes undifferentiated and invasive HBL. EGFR-expressing HBL tumors present novel therapeutic targeting opportunities.

Sumazin P, Chen Y, Treviño LR, et al.
Genomic analysis of hepatoblastoma identifies distinct molecular and prognostic subgroups.
Hepatology. 2017; 65(1):104-121 [PubMed] Related Publications
Despite being the most common liver cancer in children, hepatoblastoma (HB) is a rare neoplasm. Consequently, few pretreatment tumors have been molecularly profiled, and there are no validated prognostic or therapeutic biomarkers for HB patients. We report on the first large-scale effort to profile pretreatment HBs at diagnosis. Our analysis of 88 clinically annotated HBs revealed three risk-stratifying molecular subtypes that are characterized by differential activation of hepatic progenitor cell markers and metabolic pathways: high-risk tumors were characterized by up-regulated nuclear factor, erythroid 2-like 2 activity; high lin-28 homolog B, high mobility group AT-hook 2, spalt-like transcription factor 4, and alpha-fetoprotein expression; and high coordinated expression of oncofetal proteins and stem-cell markers, while low-risk tumors had low lin-28 homolog B and lethal-7 expression and high hepatic nuclear factor 1 alpha activity.
CONCLUSION: Analysis of immunohistochemical assays using antibodies targeting these genes in a prospective study of 35 HBs suggested that these candidate biomarkers have the potential to improve risk stratification and guide treatment decisions for HB patients at diagnosis; our results pave the way for clinical collaborative studies to validate candidate biomarkers and test their potential to improve outcome for HB patients. (Hepatology 2017;65:104-121).

Comerford SA, Hinnant EA, Chen Y, et al.
Hepatoblastoma modeling in mice places Nrf2 within a cancer field established by mutant
JCI Insight. 2016; 1(16):e88549 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
Aberrant wnt/β-catenin signaling and amplification/overexpression of Myc are associated with hepatoblastoma (HB), the most prevalent type of childhood liver cancer. To address their roles in the pathogenesis of HB, we generated mice in which Myc and mutant β-catenin were targeted to immature cells of the developing mouse liver. Perinatal coexpression of both genes promoted the preferential development of HBs over other tumor types in neonatal mice, all of which bore striking resemblance to their human counterparts. Integrated analysis indicated that tumors emerged as a consequence of Myc-driven alterations in hepatoblast fate in a background of pan-hepatic injury, inflammation, and nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2/Nrf2-dependent antioxidant signaling, which was specifically associated with expression of mutant β-catenin but not Myc. Immunoprofiling of human HBs confirmed that approximately 50% of tumors demonstrated aberrant activation of either Myc or Nfe2l2/Nrf2, while knockdown of Nrf2 in a cell line-derived from a human HB with

Liu W, Chen S, Liu B
Diagnostic and prognostic values of serum exosomal microRNA-21 in children with hepatoblastoma: a Chinese population-based study.
Pediatr Surg Int. 2016; 32(11):1059-1065 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hepatoblastoma (HB) is the most common primary malignant tumor of the liver in young children. The aim of this study is to identify the diagnostic and prognostic values of serum exosomal miR-21 in Chinese patients with HB.
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 32 children with HB. The expressions of miR-21 were detected by real-time PCR. The comparison of diagnostic performance of plasmatic, exosomal miR-21 and AFP levels was measured using the Area Under ROC Curve.
RESULTS: For patients in HB group, miR-21 concentration was significantly higher in the exosomes compared with the exosome-depleted supernatants and whole plasma. Expression of miR-21 was significantly higher in patients with HB compared with control group in both plasma and exosomes. With respect to the diagnosis of patients with HB, exosomal miR-21 was significantly more accurate compared with the Alpha-fetoprotein levels. Moreover, exosomal miR-21 was an independent predictor of Even-free survival for patients with HB.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we found that expression of miR-21 was significantly higher in patients with HB compared with control group in both plasma and exosomes, and we confirmed that exosomal miR-21 could be defined as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for patients with HB.

Dong R, Liu GB, Liu BH, et al.
Targeting long non-coding RNA-TUG1 inhibits tumor growth and angiogenesis in hepatoblastoma.
Cell Death Dis. 2016; 7(6):e2278 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
Hepatoblastoma is the most common liver tumor of early childhood, which is usually characterized by unusual hypervascularity. Recently, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) have emerged as gene regulators and prognostic markers in several cancers, including hepatoblastoma. We previously reveal that lnRNA-TUG1 is upregulated in hepatoblastoma specimens by microarray analysis. In this study, we aim to elucidate the biological and clinical significance of TUG1 upregulation in hepatoblastoma. We show that TUG1 is significantly upregulated in human hepatoblastoma specimens and metastatic hepatoblastoma cell lines. TUG1 knockdown inhibits tumor growth and angiogenesis in vivo, and decreases hepatoblastoma cell viability, proliferation, migration, and invasion in vitro. TUG1, miR-34a-5p, and VEGFA constitutes to a regulatory network, and participates in regulating hepatoblastoma cell function, tumor progression, and tumor angiogenesis. Overall, our findings indicate that TUG1 upregulation contributes to unusual hypervascularity of hepatoblastoma. TUG1 is a promising therapeutic target for aggressive, recurrent, or metastatic hepatoblastoma.

Vokuhl C, Oyen F, Häberle B, et al.
Small cell undifferentiated (SCUD) hepatoblastomas: All malignant rhabdoid tumors?
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2016; 55(12):925-931 [PubMed] Related Publications
Small cell undifferentiated (SCUD) hepatoblastoma is a rare variant of hepatoblastoma with poor outcome and loss of INI1 expression, sharing this with malignant rhabdoid tumors (MRT). We studied all tumors from the files of the Kiel Pediatric Tumor Registry (KTR) with the initial diagnosis of SCUD and MRT. After re-review, we performed immunistochemistry, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and multiplex ligation dependent probe amplification for loss of expression and deletion of INI1/SMARCB1 in 23 tumors. Morphologically, 12 of the tumors had a small cell morphology, 9 showed the typical picture of MRT, and 2 were composed of both small cells and rhabdoid cells. All but 1 of the 23 tumors showed loss of INI1 protein expression by immunohistochemistry. Nineteen of the INI1 negative tumors were analyzed by FISH technique and all showed a deletion of the INI1/SMARCB1 gene (17 homozygous deletions, 2 heterozygous deletions). We investigated 14 of these cases by multiplex ligation dependent probe amplification and verified the deletions in all cases. In conclusion, we postulate that SCUD hepatoblastoma is not a hepatoblastoma but represents a malignant rhabdoid tumor of the liver. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Honda S, Minato M, Suzuki H, et al.
Clinical prognostic value of DNA methylation in hepatoblastoma: Four novel tumor suppressor candidates.
Cancer Sci. 2016; 107(6):812-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
Hepatoblastoma (HB) is very rare but the most common malignant neoplasm of the liver occurring in children. Despite improvements in therapy, outcomes for patients with advanced HB that is refractory to standard preoperative chemotherapy remain unsatisfactory. To improve the survival rate among this group, identification of novel prognostic markers and therapeutic targets is needed. We have previously reported that altered DNA methylation patterns are of biological and clinical importance in HB. In the present study, using genome-wide methylation analysis and bisulfite pyrosequencing with specimens from HB tumors, we detected nine methylated genes. We then focused on four of those genes, GPR180, MST1R, OCIAD2, and PARP6, because they likely encode tumor suppressors and their increase of methylation was associated with a poor prognosis. The methylation status of the four genes was also associated with age at diagnosis, and significant association with the presence of metastatic tumors was seen in three of the four genes. Multivariate analysis revealed that the presence of metastatic tumors and increase of methylation of GPR180 were independent prognostic factors affecting event-free survival. These findings indicate that the four novel tumor suppressor candidates are potentially useful molecular markers predictive of a poor outcome in HB patients, which may serve as the basis for improved therapeutic strategies when clinical trials are carried out.

Canal F, Anthony E, Lescure A, et al.
A kinome siRNA screen identifies HGS as a potential target for liver cancers with oncogenic mutations in CTNNB1.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:1020 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Aberrant activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is a major and frequent event in liver cancer, but inhibition of oncogenic β-catenin signaling has proven challenging. The identification of genes that are synthetically lethal in β-catenin-activated cancer cells would provide new targets for therapeutic drug design.
METHODS: We transfected the parental HuH6 hepatoblastoma cell line with a doxycycline-inducible shRNA against CTNNB1 (gene coding for β-catenin) to obtain an isogenic cell line pair with or without aberrant β-catenin signaling. Using this hepatoblastoma isogenic cell line pair, we performed a human kinome-wide siRNA screen to identify synthetic lethal interactions with oncogenic CTNNB1. The phenotypic readouts of the screen were cell proliferation, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, which were assessed by image-based analysis. In addition, apoptosis was assessed by flow cytometric experiments and immunoblotting. The potential synthetic lethal relationship between candidates genes identified in the screen and oncogenic CTNNB1 was also investigated in a different cellular context, a colorectal HCT116 isogenic cell line pair.
RESULTS: We first determined the experimental conditions that led to the efficient expression of shRNA against CTNNB1 and maximal reduction of β-catenin signaling activity in response to doxycycline treatment. Following high throughput screening in which 687 genes coding for kinases and proteins related to kinases (such as pseudokinases and phosphatases) were targeted, we identified 52 genes required for HuH6 survival. The silencing of five of these genes selectively impaired the viability of HuH6 cells with high β-catenin signaling: HGS, STRADA, FES, BRAF and PKMYT1. Among these candidates, HGS depletion had the strongest inhibitory effect on cell growth and led to apoptosis specifically in HuH6 with high β-catenin activity, while HuH6 with low β-catenin activity were spared. In addition, HGS was identified as a potential synthetic lethal partner of oncogenic CTNNB1 in the HCT116 colorectal isogenic cell line pair.
CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate the existence of crosstalk between β-catenin signaling and HGS. Importantly, HGS depletion specifically affected cells with uncontrolled β-catenin signaling activity in two different types of cancer (Hepatoblastoma HuH6 and colorectal HCT116), and thus may represent a new potential target for novel therapeutic strategies in liver and colorectal cancer.

Gödeke J, Luxenburger E, Trippel F, et al.
Low expression of N-myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (NDRG2) correlates with poor prognosis in hepatoblastoma.
Hepatol Int. 2016; 10(2):370-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: Despite tremendous progress in therapy, about 30% of patients with hepatoblastoma still succumb to the disease. Thus, the development of improved therapies as well as the identification of prognostic factors are urgently needed.
METHODS: In the present study, expression and promoter methylation of the N-myc downstream-regulated gene (NDRG2), a tumor suppressor gene contributing to the regulation of the Wnt signalling pathway, was analysed in 38 hepatoblastoma samples by real-time reverse transcription-PCR and pyrosequencing, respectively.
RESULTS: The NDRG2 gene was highly expressed in normal pediatric liver tissue, but was significantly downregulated in heptoblastoma primary tumors. Detailed methylation analysis of CpG sites in the NDRG2 promoter region revealed a general high degree of DNA methylation in hepatoblastoma, which correlated with the suppression of NDRG2. By analyzing clinicopathological features we could demonstrate a strong association between low NDRG2 expression and tumor metastasis. Importantly, the overall survival analysis by Kaplan-Meier revealed that high NDRG2 expression was correlated with a higher survival rate in hepatoblastoma patients.
CONCLUSION: Our data show that downregulation of NDRG2 may play an important role in advanced hepatoblastomas.

Leichter AL, Purcell RV, Sullivan MJ, et al.
Multi-platform microRNA profiling of hepatoblastoma patients using formalin fixed paraffin embedded archival samples.
Gigascience. 2015; 4:54 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) samples are a valuable resource in cancer research and have the potential to be extensively used. However, they are often underused because of degradation and chemical modifications occurring in the RNA that can present obstacles in downstream analysis. In routine medical care, FFPE material is examined and archived, therefore clinical collections of many types of cancers exist. It is beneficial to assess and record the quality of data that can be obtained from this type of material. The current study investigated three independent platforms and their ability to profile microRNAs (miRNAs) within FFPE samples from hepatoblastoma (HB) patients.
FINDINGS: Here we present three types of datasets consisting of miRNA profiles for 13 HB patients with different tumour types and molecular variations. The three platforms that were used to generate these data are: next-generation sequencing (Illumina MiSeq), microarray (Affymetrix(®) GeneChip(®) miRNA 3.0 array) and NanoString (nCounter, Human v2 miRNA Assay). The mature miRNAs identified are based on miRBase version 17 and 18.
CONCLUSIONS: These datasets provide a global landscape of miRNA expression for a rare childhood cancer that has not previously been well characterised. These data could serve as a resource for future studies aiming to make comparisons of HB miRNA profiles and to document aberrant miRNA expression in this type of cancer.

Bhusari S, Pandiri AR, Nagai H, et al.
Genomic Profiling Reveals Unique Molecular Alterations in Hepatoblastomas and Adjacent Hepatocellular Carcinomas in B6C3F1 Mice.
Toxicol Pathol. 2015; 43(8):1114-26 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
The cell of origin of hepatoblastoma (HB) in humans and mice is unknown; it is hypothesized to be a transformed hepatocyte, oval cell, or hepatic progenitor cell. In mice, current dogma is that HBs arise from preexisting hepatocellular neoplasms as a result of further neoplastic transformation. However, there is little evidence supporting this direct relationship. To better understand the relationship between hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and HB and determine molecular similarities between mouse and human HB, global gene expression analysis and targeted mutation analysis were performed using HB, HCC, and adjacent liver from the same animals in a recent National Toxicology Program bioassay. There were significant differences in Hras and Ctnnb1 mutation spectra, and by microarray, HBs showed dysregulation of embryonic development, stem cell pluripotency, and genomic imprinting compared to HCC. Meta-analysis showed similarities between HB, early mouse embryonic liver, and hepatocyte-derived stem/progenitor cells compared to HCC. Our data show that there are striking differences between HB and HCC and suggest that HB is a significantly different entity that may arise from a hepatic precursor cell. Furthermore, mouse HB is similar to the human disease at the pathway level and therefore is likely a relevant model for evaluating human cancer hazard.

Chatterjee A, Leichter AL, Fan V, et al.
A cross comparison of technologies for the detection of microRNAs in clinical FFPE samples of hepatoblastoma patients.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:10438 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
Although formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue is a major biological source in cancer research, it is challenging to work with due to macromolecular fragmentation and nucleic acid crosslinking. Therefore, it is important to characterise the quality of data that can be obtained from FFPE samples. We have compared three independent platforms (next generation sequencing, microarray and NanoString) for profiling microRNAs (miRNAs) using clinical FFPE samples from hepatoblastoma (HB) patients. The number of detected miRNAs ranged from 228 to 345 (median = 294) using the next generation sequencing platform, whereas 79 to 125 (median = 112) miRNAs were identified using microarrays in three HB samples, including technical replicates. NanoString identified 299 to 372 miRNAs in two samples. Between the platforms, we observed high reproducibility and significant levels of shared detection. However, for commonly detected miRNAs, a strong correlation between platforms was not observed. Analysis of 10 additional HB samples with NanoString identified significantly overlapping miRNA expression profiles, and an alternative pattern was identified in a poorly differentiated HB with an aggressive phenotype. This investigation serves as a roadmap for future studies investigating miRNA expression in clinical FFPE samples, and as a guideline for the selection of an appropriate platform.

Fu X, Cui P, Chen F, et al.
Thymosin β4 promotes hepatoblastoma metastasis via the induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 12(1):127-32 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/06/2020 Related Publications
Hepatoblastoma (HB) is the most common malignant hepatic tumor in children and complete surgical resection offers the highest possibility for cure in this disease. Tumor metastasis is the principle obstacle to the development of efficient treatments for patients with HB. The present study aimed to measure the expression levels of thymosin β4 (Tβ4) in liver samples from patients with HB and to investigate the involvement of Tβ4 in HB metastasis. The expression of Tβ4 was significantly higher in liver samples from patients with metastatic HB and in the HepG2 metastatic HB cell line, compared with that in adjacent healthy liver samples and in the L02 healthy hepatic cell line. By contrast, the expression levels of epithelial-cadherin (E-cadherin) and cytosolic accumulation of β-catenin, the two most prominent markers involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), were reduced in liver specimens from patients with metastatic HB compared with that of healthy adjacent control tissue. HepG2 cells were transfected with small interfering-RNA in order to downregulate Tβ4 gene expression. This resulted in a reduced cell migratory capacity compared with control cells. Tβ4 gene expression knockdown significantly inhibited transforming growth factor β1-mediated-EMT in vitro by upregulating the expression of E-cadherin. The results of the present study suggested that Tβ4 may promote HB metastasis via the induction of EMT, and that Tβ4 may therefore be a target for the development of novel treatments for patients with HB.

Saida S, Watanabe K, Kato I, et al.
Prognostic significance of aminopeptidase-N (CD13) in hepatoblastoma.
Pediatr Int. 2015; 57(4):558-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hepatoblastoma is a rare childhood malignant tumor that originates from immature hepatic cells. Aminopeptidase-N(CD13), an ectopeptidase that promotes tumor invasion and metastasis, is expressed in fetal stage hepatic progenitor cells, although its role in hepatoblastoma remains unclear.
METHODS: The expression pattern of CD13 was investigated on immunohistochemistry in 30 tissue samples from 27 hepatoblastoma patients (16 with predominantly embryonal [pE] histology and 14 with predominantly fetal [pF] histology). Immunoreactive score (IRS) was used to quantify staining data, and the relationship between CD13 expression, clinicopathological factors, and clinical outcome was investigated. The biological function of CD13 was also examined in the hepatoblastoma cell lines Huh6 and HepG2.
RESULTS: All specimens stained positive for CD13, with higher CD13 expression in pE than in pF hepatoblastoma samples (median IRS, 4; range, 2-9 vs 2; range, 1-4). Strong CD13 expression was correlated with vascular invasion. Five year event-free survival and overall survival were better in patients with CD13(low) than in those with CD13(high) tumors (100% vs 51.0%, P = 0.026; and 100% vs 74.0%, P = 0.114, respectively). A CD13-neutralizing antibody and the potent CD13 inhibitor, Ubenimex, suppressed invasive activity in HepG2 cells in vitro.
CONCLUSIONS: CD13 expression is associated with hepatoblastoma invasiveness and could be a novel prognostic marker for hepatoblastoma.

Quan M, Liu S, Wang Q, et al.
NS5ATP9 Promotes Beclin 1-Dependent Starvation-Induced Autophagy of Hepatoblastoma Cells.
J Cell Biochem. 2015; 116(8):1574-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
NS5ATP9, a gene up-regulated by NS5A, plays a crucial oncogenic role in several types of human tumours. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Autophagy, an evolutionarily conserved catabolic process, maintains cellular homeostasis under stress conditions, such as starvation, and plays a crucial role in tumour initiation and progression. Here, we report that NS5ATP9 mRNA and protein expression was up-regulated in starved HepG2 cells and that the up-regulated NS5ATP9 played a functional role in starvation-induced autophagy. Overexpression or silencing of this gene showed contrasting effects on Beclin 1 and on starvation-induced autophagy. Furthermore, NS5ATP9-mediated autophagy is required for promotion of tumour cell growth, and this effect could be inhibited with 3-methyladenine, chloroquine or by Beclin 1-silencing. Thus, the mechanism for NS5ATP9-promoted autophagy is Beclin 1-dependent in the condition of starvation, and for hepatoblastoma cell growth is also Beclin 1-dependent.

Rodrigues TC, Fidalgo F, da Costa CM, et al.
Upregulated genes at 2q24 gains as candidate oncogenes in hepatoblastomas.
Future Oncol. 2014; 10(15):2449-57 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: Cytogenetic data of hepatoblastomas, a rare embryonal tumor of the liver, mostly consist of descriptions of whole-chromosome aneuploidies and large chromosome alterations. High-resolution cytogenetics may provide clues to hepatoblastoma tumorigenesis and indicate markers with clinical significance.
PATIENTS & METHODS: We used array-CGH (180K) to screen for genomic imbalances in nine hepatoblastomas. Additionally, we investigated the expression pattern of selected genes exhibiting copy number changes.
RESULTS: Analysis showed mainly whole-chromosome or chromosome-arm aneuploidies, but some focal aberrations were also mapped. Expression analysis of 48 genes mapped at one 10 Mb amplification at 2q24 revealed upregulation of DAPL1, ERMN, GALNT5, SCN1A and SCN3A in the set of tumors compared with differentiated livers.
CONCLUSION: These genes appear as candidates for hepatoblastoma tumorigenesis.

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