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Pathology oncology research : POR

Differential Expression of Sonic Hedgehog Protein in Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma.


PMID 25740074

Abstract

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) are the two most common primary liver malignancies in adult patients. The molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of HCC and CCA are still poorly understood. Sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling plays an essential role during mammalian development, i.e., promoting organ growth, tissue differentiation, and cell polarity. The upregulation of SHH has been observed during carcinogenesis, including colorectal carcinoma. Our aim was to investigate the expression pattern of SHH in HCC and CCA. We investigated 40 malignant tumors of the liver, including 21 HCC and 19 of intrahepatic CCA cases by immunohistochemistry (IHC) using a polyclonal antibody against SHH and Avidin-Biotin Complex method. We also investigated the co-localization of SHH and Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) in CCA using indirect double IHC. Moreover, we examined whether SHH is expressed in two HCC cell lines HepG2 and HuH-7 and three CCA cell lines OZ, HuCCT1 and HuH28. We found that SHH was expressed in 15 out of 21 cases (71.4 %) of HCC and 100 % of CCA cases by immunohistochemistry. SHH expression showed a positive trend in liver tumors (HCC, CCA) with high grade (G2-G3). SHH localized to the epithelial cells, while BMP4 was expressed in the stromal cells in CCA by double IHC. However, both HCC and CCA cell lines showed SHH expression by Western blot analysis. In conclusion, SHH seems to be an interesting marker of de-differentiation in liver tumors and the simultaneous epithelial-mesenchymal expression may be an intriguing prompt to investigate cross-talks between SHH and BMP4.