Department of Laparoscopic Surgery, Xinjiang Medical University, Xinjiang, 830054, China, firstname.lastname@example.org.
MicroRNA-372 (miR-372) has been demonstrated to play a crucial role in cellular proliferation and apoptosis of cancer cells. However, its effects in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have not been explored. The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical significance of miR-372 in human HCC. Quantitative RT-PCR was performed to detect miR-372 expression in HCC clinical samples and cell lines. Then, Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional regression analyses were performed to determine the association of miR-372 expression with survival of HCC patients. Moreover, the effects of miR-372 on tumorigenicity of HCC cell lines were evaluated by in vitro assays. miR-372 expression in HCC tissues was significantly higher than in the corresponding normal adjacent liver tissues (P < 0.001). There was a correlation between miR-372 upregulation and advanced TNM stage of HCC patients (P = 0.02). In addition, HCC patients with higher miR-372 expression had significantly poorer recurrence-free survival (P = 0.006) and overall survival (P = 0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed that high miR-372 expression was an independent predictor of poor prognosis (for recurrence-free survival: Hazard Ratio [HR] 6.826, P = 0.01; for overall survival: HR 9.533, P = 0.008). Moreover, in vitro assays demonstrated that the ectopic expression of miR-372 may significantly promote the cellular proliferation, invasion, and migration of HCC cell lines. Our findings showed that miR-372 may serve as a potent prognostic marker for tumor recurrence and survival of HCC patients. Furthermore, miR-372 has been identified as a promoter for tumorigenicity of HCC cells, suggesting that it might be a prospective therapeutic target for HCC.