Down-regulation of β-arrestin2 promotes tumour invasion and indicates poor prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma

Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 19;6:35609. doi: 10.1038/srep35609.


β-arrestins, including β-arrestin1 and β-arrestin2, are multifunctional adaptor proteins. β-arrestins have recently been found to play new roles in regulating intracellular signalling networks associated with malignant cell functions. Altered β-arrestin expression has been reported in many cancers, but its role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is not clear. We therefore examined the roles of β-arrestins in HCC using an animal model of progressive HCC, HCC patient samples and HCC cell lines with stepwise metastatic potential. We demonstrated that β-arrestin2 level, but not β-arrestin1 level, decreased in conjunction with liver tumourigenesis in a mouse diethylnitrosamine-induced liver tumour model. Furthermore, β-arrestin2 expression was reduced in HCC tissues compared with noncancerous tissues in HCC patients. β-arrestin2 down-regulation in HCC was significantly associated with poor patient prognoses and aggressive pathologic features. In addition, our in vitro study showed that β-arrestin2 overexpression significantly reduced cell migration and invasion in cultured HCC cells. Furthermore, β-arrestin2 overexpression up-regulated E-cadherin expression and inhibited vimentin expression and Akt activation. These results suggest that β-arrestin2 down-regulation increases HCC cell migration and invasion ability. Low β-arrestin2 expression may be indicative of a poor prognosis or early cancer recurrence in patients who have undergone surgery for HCC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / chemically induced
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Diethylnitrosamine
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prognosis
  • beta-Arrestin 2 / genetics
  • beta-Arrestin 2 / metabolism*


  • beta-Arrestin 2
  • Diethylnitrosamine