Aim: To identify the genes related to lymph node metastasis in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), 32 HCC patients with or without lymph node metastasis were investigated by high-throughput microarray comprising 886 genes.
Methods: The samples of cancerous and non-cancerous paired tissue were taken from 32 patients with HCC who underwent hepatectomy with lymph node dissection. Total RNA was extracted from the cells obtained by means of laser microdissection (LCM) and was amplified by the T7-based amplification system. Then, the amplified samples were applied in the cDNA microarray comprising of 886 genes.
Results: The results demonstrated that 25 up-regulated genes such as cell membrane receptor, intracellular signaling and cell adhesion related genes, and 48 down-regulated genes such as intracellular signaling and cell cycle regulator-related genes, were correlated with lymph node metastasis in HCC. Amongst them were included some interesting genes, such as MET, EPHA2, CCND1, MMP2, MMP13, CASP3, CDH1, and PTPN2. Expression of 16 genes (MET, CCND1, CCND2, VEGF, KRT18, RFC4, BIRC5, CDC6, MMP2, BCL2A1, CDH1, VIM, PDGFRA, PTPN2, SLC25A5 and DSP) were further confirmed by real-time quantitative reverse transcriptional polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
Conclusion: Tumor metastasis is an important biological characteristic, which involves multiple genetic changes and cumulation. This genome-wide information contributes to an improved understanding of molecular alterations during lymph node metastasis in HCC. It may help clinicians to predict metastasis of lymph nodes and assist researchers in identifying novel therapeutic targets for metastatic HCC patients.