4 years ago

Telomere Length Variation in Tumor cells and Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts: Potential Biomarker for Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Li-Jie Ma, Zhen-Bin Ding, Liang-Qing Dong, Jia Fan, Jian Zhou, Ya Cao, Ai-Wu Ke, Jie-Yi Shi, Long-Zi Liu, Qiang Gao, Zhi-Chao Wang, Xiao-Ying Wang, Xiao-Ming Zhang, Liu-Xiao Yang, Meng Duan
The role of telomere dysfunction and aberrant telomerase activities in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been overlooked for many years. This study aimed to delineate the variation and prognostic value of telomere length in HCC. Telomere-specific fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and qPCR were used to evaluate telomere length in HCC cell lines, tumor tissues and isolated non-tumor cells within the tumor. Significant telomere attrition was found in tumor cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) compared to their normal counterparts, but not in intratumor leukocytes or bile duct epithelial cells. Clinical relevance and prognostic value of telomere length were investigated on tissue microarrays of 257 surgically treated HCC patients. Reduced intensity of telomere signals in tumor cells or CAFs correlated with larger tumor size and the presence of vascular invasion (P < 0.05). Shortened telomeres in tumor cells or CAFs associated with reduced survival and increased recurrence, and were identified as independent prognosticators for HCC patients (P<0.05). These findings were validated in an independent HCC cohort of 371 HCC patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database, confirming telomere attrition and its prognostic value in HCC. We also showed that telomerase reverse transcriptase promoter (TERTp) mutation correlated with telomere shortening in HCC. Telomere variation in tumor cells and non-tumor cells within the tumor microenvironment of HCC was a valuable prognostic biomarker for this fatal malignancy.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/path.4961

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