Research Papers:

High USP22 expression indicates poor prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma

Bo Tang _, Fang Tang, Bo Li, Shengguang Yuan, Qing Xu, Stephen Tomlinson, Junfei Jin, Wei Hu and Songqing He

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:12654-12667. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3705

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Bo Tang1,2,*, Fang Tang3,*, Bo Li1,2,*, Shengguang Yuan1,2, Qing Xu1,2, Stephen Tomlinson4, Junfei Jin2, Wei Hu5 and Songqing He1,2

1 Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Affiliated Hospital of Guilin Medical University, Guilin, Guangxi, People’s Republic of China

2 Guangxi Key Laboratory of Molecular Medicine in Liver Injury and Repair, Guilin, Guangxi, People’s Republic of China

3 Department of Pathology, Affiliated Hospital of Guilin Medical University, Guilin, Guangxi, People’s Republic of China

4 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Darby Children’s Research Institute, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA

5 Department of Laboratory Medicine, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, People’s Republic of China

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Songqing He, email:

Wei Hu, email:

Junfei Jin, email:

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, ubiquitin-specific protease 22, prognosis, cancer biomarker

Received: January 10, 2015 Accepted: March 05, 2015 Published: March 30, 2015


Ubiquitin-specific protease 22 (USP22) removes ubiquitin from histones, thus regulating gene transcription. The expression frequency and expression levels of USP22 were significantly higher in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) than in normal liver tissues. High USP22 expression in HCC was significantly correlated with clinical stage and tumor grade. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that elevated USP22 expression predicted poorer overall survival and recurrence-free survival. High USP22 expression was also associated with shortened survival time in patients at advanced tumor stages and with high grade HCC. Multivariate analyses revealed that USP22 expression is an independent prognostic parameter in HCC. These findings provide evidence that high USP22 expression might be important in tumor progression and serves as an independent molecular marker for poor HCC prognosis. Thus, USP22 overexpression identifies patients at high risk and represents a novel therapeutic molecular target for this tumor.

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