Program in Genes & Development, Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences, Center for Stem Cell & Development Biology, Center for Cancer Epigenetics, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA 77030.
Numerous genome wide profiles of gene expression changes in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), compared to normal liver tissue, have been reported. Hierarchical clustering of these data reveal distinct patterns, which underscore conservation between human disease and mouse models of HCC, as well as suggest specific classification of subtypes within the heterogeneous disease of HCC. Global profiling of gene expression in mouse liver, challenged by partial hepatectomy to regenerate, reveals alterations in gene expression that occur in response to acute injury, inflammation and re-entry into cell cycle.
When we integrated datasets of gene expression changes in mouse models of HCC and those that are altered at specific times of liver regeneration, we saw shared, conserved alterations in gene expression within specific biological pathways, both up-regulated, e.g. cell cycle, cell death and cellular development, or down-regulated, e.g. vitamin and mineral metabolism, lipid metabolism and molecular transport. Additional molecular mechanisms shared by liver regeneration and HCC, as yet undiscovered, may have important implications in tumor development and recurrence.
These comparisons may offer a way to judge how liver resection, in the treatment of HCC, introduces challenges to care of the disease. Further, uncovering the pathways conserved in inflammatory response, hypertrophy, proliferation and architectural remodeling of the liver, which are shared in liver regeneration and HCC, versus those specific to tumor development and progression in HCC, may reveal new biomarkers or potential therapeutic targets in HCC.