Research Papers:

Leukemia inhibitory factor receptor is a novel immunomarker in distinction of well-differentiated HCC from dysplastic nodules

Qin Luo _, Yurong Zhang, Ning Wang, Guangzhi Jin, Haojie Jin, Dishui Gu, Xuemei Tao, Xisong Huo, Tianxiang Ge, Wenming Cong, Cun Wang and Wenxin Qin

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:6989-6999. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3136

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Qin Luo1,*, Yurong Zhang1,*, Ning Wang1, Guangzhi Jin2, Haojie Jin1, Dishui Gu1, Xuemei Tao1, Xisong Huo1, Tianxiang Ge1, Wenming Cong2, Cun Wang1, Wenxin Qin1

1State Key Laboratory of Oncogenes and Related Genes, Shanghai Cancer Institute, Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

2Department of Pathology, Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China

*These authors contribute equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Wenxin Qin, e-mail: [email protected]

Cun Wang, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, leukemia inhibitory factor receptor, high-grade dysplastic nodules, well differentiated-small hepatocellular carcinoma

Received: December 10, 2014     Accepted: January 11, 2015     Published: February 05, 2015


Differential diagnosis of well-differentiated hepatocellular carcinoma (WD-HCC) and high-grade dysplastic nodules (HGDNs) represents a challenge for pathologists. Several immunohistochemistry markers have been identified to distinguish hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) from HGDNs. However, sensitivity or specificity of the individual marker is still limited. In this study, we analyzed dynamic alteration of leukemia inhibitory factor receptor (LIFR) and CD34 during hepatocarcinogenesis from dysplastic nodules to small HCC. The diagnostic performance of LIFR and CD34 combination in WD-HCC and HGDNs was investigated by logistic regression models and validated in an independent validation cohort. LIFR was decreased and CD34 was increased along with stepwise progression of hepatocarcinogenesis from low-grade dysplastic nodules (LGDNs) to small HCC. The sensitivity and specificity of the LIFR and CD34 combination for WD-HCC detection were 93.5% and 90.5%, respectively. In addition, colony formation assay was used to explore the role of LIFR in tumorigenesis. Silencing of LIFR could significantly promote colony formation of HCC cells, whereas ectopic overexpression of LIFR resulted in impaired ability of colony formation of HCC cells. These findings indicate that LIFR and CD34 combination may be used as an available differential diagnostic model for WD-HCC from HGDNs in clinical practice.

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