AGK enhances angiogenesis and inhibits apoptosis via activation of the NF-κB signaling pathway in hepatocellular carcinoma.

PMID 25474138


High levels of angiogenesis and resistance to apoptosis are major clinical features of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a lethal disease with a high incidence worldwide. However, the precise mechanisms underlying these malignant properties remain unclear. Here, we demonstrated that acylglycerol kinase (AGK) is markedly overexpressed in HCC cell lines and clinical tissues. Immunohistochemical analysis of 245 clinical HCC specimens revealed patients with high levels of AGK expression had poorer overall survival compared to patients with low AGK expression. Furthermore, overexpressing AGK significantly enhanced angiogenesis and inhibited apoptosis in vitro and promoted the tumorigenicity of HCC cells in vivo; silencing endogenous AGK had the opposite effects. Importantly, AGK enhanced angiogenesis and inhibited apoptosis in HCC in part via activation of NF-κB signaling. Our findings provide new evidence that AGK plays an important role in promoting angiogenesis and providing resistance to apoptosis, thus AGK may represent a novel therapeutic target for HCC.