Introduction: Chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20) plays an important role in the carcinogenesis, invasion, and progression of malignancies. This study aimed to investigate the prognostic significance of CCL20 in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after curative resection.
Methods: Expression of CCL20 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in tumor tissue from 125 patients who underwent curative resection of HCC. The relationship between CCL20 expression and clinicopathologic features was analyzed. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to evaluate its predictive value for tumor recurrence and survival of HCC patients.
Results: CCL20 expression was verified in all tumor specimens. CCL20 expression was associated with tumor size (P = 0.002), tumor number (P = 0.031), vascular invasion (P = 0.003), tumor differentiation (P = 0.024), and tumor recurrence (P < 0.001). Patients with high CCL20 expression had poorer recurrence-free survival and overall survival (both P < 0.001) than those with low CCL20 expression. Multivariate analysis showed CCL20 expression was an independent predictor of tumor recurrence (Hazard ratio 3.934, P = 0.002), recurrence-free survival (Hazard ratio 2.573, P = 0.001), and overall survival (Hazard ratio 2.930, P = 0.001).
Conclusion: CCL20 expression was associated with tumor recurrence and survival of HCC patients. It may be used to predict prognosis of patients with HCC and may be a new target of postoperative adjuvant therapy.