In this study, we investigated the value of measurement of the chemokine CXCL1 in clinical management of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and its possible role in the molecular pathogenesis of HCC. High CXCL1 expression predicted recurrence in HCC patients and promoted tumor progression in both in vivo and in vitro experimental systems. Overexpression of CXCL1 increased mitochondrial metabolism and activated the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Using computational analysis we identified the microRNA miR-200a as a putative post-transcriptional regulator of CXCL1. We found that levels of miR-200a were inversely correlated with CXCL1 expression in HCC patient tissue samples by northern blot and qRT-PCR. Furthermore, CXCL1 was identified as a direct target which was bound and inhibited by miR- 200a. These findings provide new insights into the role of CXCL1 in HCC and its post-transcriptional regulation and suggest it may be a prognostic indicator for poor outcomes and a potential target for therapy.
Keywords: CXCL1; carcinogenesis; hepatocellular carcinoma; miR-200a.