Objective: Although great success has been achieved in cancer treatment, current cancer therapies, including anti-tumorigenesis and anti-angiogenesis, still face the problems of insufficient efficacy, resistance and intrinsic refractoriness, in addition to their toxic side effects. There is a demand to identify additional targets that can be blocked to turn off the downstream effects of most, if not all, pathways. Our previous studies suggest that orphan nuclear receptor TR3 (human) / Nur77 (mouse) is such a target. However, the correlation of TR3 expression and clinical tumor progression has not been studied.
Methods: The expression of TR3 was analysed in human primary hepatic cancer specimens from patients that have complete medical records with Immunohistochemical staining. The statistical analysis was used to assess the significance of TR3 expression in tumor tissues, paratumor tissues and normal tissues, and to investigate the correlation of TR3 expression and clincopathologic characteristics.
Results: TR3 is highly expressed in human hepatic cancer tissues, but not in normal liver tissues. The positive expression yields of TR3 are 67.67% (14/21), 19.05% (4/21) and 0% (0/10) in cancer tissues, para cancer tissues, and normal liver tissue, respectively, which are statistic significant (χ2=17.07, p<0.005). The expression of TR3 is significantly higher in cancer tissues than in para cancer tissues χ2=9.722, p<0.005) and in normal tissues (p<0.0005). The levels of TR3 expression in human hepatic cancer tissues correlates well with tumors that are at low/middle degree of tumor differentiation and have portal vein thrombosis, metastasis and recurrence, but not with age, gender, tumor number and Alpha-fetal protein (AFP) volume.
Conclusion: The results indicate that TR3 is a specific therapeutic target for hepatic cancers.
Keywords: Clinical; Correlation; Expression; Hepatic cancer; Metastasis; Nur77; Progression; TR3; Therapeutic target; Tumor.