Research Papers:

Tumor-associated antigen CAPERα and microvessel density in hepatocellular carcinoma

Liping Dai, Xuan-Xian Peng, Eng M. Tan and Jian-Ying Zhang _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:16985-16995. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7707

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Liping Dai1, Xuan-Xian Peng2, Eng M. Tan3, Jian-Ying Zhang1

1Department of Biological Sciences & NIH-Sponsored Border Biomedical Research Center, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA

2School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510006, China

3Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA

Correspondence to:

Jianying Zhang, e-mail: jzhang@utep.edu

Eng M. Tan, e-mail: emtan@scripps.edu

Keywords: CAPERα, tumor-associated antigen, hepatocellular carcinoma, cancer biomarkers, tumor angiogenesis

Received: November 13, 2015    Accepted: January 31, 2016    Published: February 25, 2016


Purpose: CAPERα, a tumor-associated antigen, was identified from a cDNA clone with autoantibody from a patient with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It has been implicated, by way of alternative splicing of VEGF pre-mRNA, in the regulation of microvessel formation in Ewing’s sarcoma. In this study, we looked for possible association of alterations in CAPERα with microvessel density in HCC.

Methods: Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using recombinant CAPERα as antigen were used to detect antibody against CAPERα. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) on liver sections was performed to analyze expression profiles of CAPERα, VEGF and CD34 in HCC and control tissues and was further used to assess the correlation of expression among CAPERα, VEGF and CD34 in HCC development.

Results: Autoantibody to CAPERα was highest in HCC (22/76, 28.9%), not detected in prostate cancer (0/79) and at 3.4% (3/88) in breast cancer. In immunohistochemical analysis of grades II and III HCC tissues, significantly decreased immunostaining for CAPERα was observed and this correlated directly with decreased immunostaining for VEGF (R=0.534, P=0.0003). Using CD34 immunostaining for detecting newly formed microvessels, strong staining was observed in grades II and III HCC. Normal liver sections, all of which have high expression of CAPERα were totally negative for CD34 immunostaining. A significant inverse correlation was seen between CAPERα and CD34 immunostaining (R=-0.481, P=0.0012).

Conclusions: Decreased expression of CAPERα appears to be correlated with appearance of microvessels. It would be of interest to elucidate the cause of altered CAPERα since new formation of microvessels is important in progression of HCC.

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