Cancer cell international

B7-H3 promotes aggression and invasion of hepatocellular carcinoma by targeting epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition via JAK2/STAT3/Slug signaling pathway.

PMID 25908926


B7-homologue 3 (B7-H3), a recently identified immunoregulatory protein, has been shown to be overexpressed in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, whether the dynamic expression pattern of B7-H3 contributes to early invasion of HCC is largely unknown. In addition, the biological roles of B7-H3 in HCC are still unclear. Herein, we are going to examine B7-H3 expression profile and its clinicopathological significance in primary and metastatic HCC, and further determine whether B7-H3 knockdown simulates different pathological states of HCC progression and metastasis. Using immunohistochemistry, B7-H3 expression was studied on 116 HCC containing primary and metastatic HCCs. Survival curves and log-rank tests were used to test the association of B7-H3 expression with survival. HCC cells with B7-H3 depletion were established by RNA interference to investigate the effect of B7-H3 on cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration and invasion in vitro. Statistical analysis of clinical cases revealed that B7-H3 high expression group had inclinations towards late TNM stage, the presence of vascular invasion, lymph metastasis, and the formation of microsatellite tumors. Increased intensity of tumor B7-H3 staining was detected more significantly in metastatic HCC tumors. Consistently in experiments performed in vitro, B7-H3 was able to stimulate the wound healing, metastasis and invasion of hepatoma cells by targeting epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) via JAK2/Stat3/Slug signaling pathway, while no obvious influence on cell growth and apoptosis. B7-H3 in the regulation of the metastatic capacity of HCC cells makes itself a promising therapeutic target for anti-metastasis therapy.