Focal adhesion kinase is overexpressed in hepatocellular carcinoma and can be served as an independent prognostic factor

J Hepatol. 2004 Jul;41(1):104-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2004.03.029.


Background/aims: The development of human malignancies can be attributed to aberrant regulation of intracellular signal transduction pathways. In the current study, we aimed to evaluate focal adhesion kinase (FAK), a non-receptor tyrosine kinase, expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and to explore the prognostic significance of FAK.

Methods: We investigated FAK mRNA expression in 60 HCC specimens using quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis, and the correlation between FAK expression and clinicopathologic parameters. FAK protein expression was examined using Western blot analysis and an immunohistochemical study.

Results: We found that FAK mRNA was overexpressed in HCCs compared with the corresponding non-cancerous liver tissues (P=0.0008). The FAK overexpression correlated significantly with tumor size (P=0.034) and serum AFP level (P=0.030). Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed that FAK mRNA expression was an independent prognostic factor for disease-free (risk ratio 3.83; P=0.024) and overall (risk ratio 7.14; P=0.015) survival. Besides, we confirmed immunohistochemically that the FAK protein was detectable in cancer cells despite non-expression in corresponding non-cancerous tissues.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that FAK mRNA expression has prognostic significance for the survival of patients with HCC.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Focal Adhesion Kinase 1
  • Focal Adhesion Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prognosis
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Survival Analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Focal Adhesion Kinase 1
  • Focal Adhesion Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • PTK2 protein, human