Cortactin Overexpression Correlates with Poor Prognosis in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Ke-min Jin, Min Lu, Fang-fang Liu, Jin Gu, Xiao-juan Du, Bao-cai Xing


Objective: To investigate cortactin expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and explore its significance in the prognosis of HCC patients.
Methods: Immunohistochemistry was performed for paraffin samples of 119 pairs of HCC tissues (HCCs) and paratumorous liver tissues (PTLTs) to evaluate cortactin expression. The cortactin expression difference in HCCs and PTLTs were analyzed by the McNemar’s test. The relationship of cortactin expressions in HCCs and clinicopathologic factors was analyzed with Mann-Whitney U test. The Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test were employed to compare the overall survival between Cortactin negative expression group, weak expression group and strong expression group. Expression of cortactin was further determined in 19 pairs of fresh HCCs and PTLTs specimens with Western blotting.
Results: Cortactin expression rate was significantly higher in HCCs (53/119, 44.5%) than that in PTLTs (2/119, 1.7%) (P<0.001). The upregulated cortactin expression in HCCs was significantly correlated to absence of capsule formation (P=0.012), vascular invasion (P=0.037) and high Edmondson-Steiner grade (P=0.020), and predicted shorter overall survival. Western blotting demonstrated that cortactin expression was upregulated in 9 out of 19 HCCs (47.4%) compared to corresponding PTLTs.
Conclusion: Cortactin expression is upregulated in HCC and is related to shorter overall survival of patients, suggesting that cortactin might play roles in the metastasis of HCC and predict a poor prognosis of HCC patients.