Insufficient Radiofrequency Ablation Treated Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells Promote Metastasis by Up-Regulation ITGB3

J Cancer. 2017 Oct 17;8(18):3742-3754. doi: 10.7150/jca.20816. eCollection 2017.


Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is one of the standards of care for early stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, rapid progression of residual tumor after RFA has been confirmed. The aim of this study was to investigate the underlying mechanism of this phenomenon. Human HCC cell lines HCCLM3 and HepG2 were employed to establish insufficient RFA models in vivo and in vitro, respectively. The effects of insufficient RFA on metastatic potential of residual tumors were evaluated. The molecular changes after insufficient RFA were evaluated by PCR array, western blot, immunofluorescence, and immunohistochemistry. Results showed that insufficient RFA significantly promoted lung and intrahepatic residual tumor cells in vivo, and heat intervention promoted migration and invasion of hepatoma cells in vitro. PCR array revealed that the expression of integrin β3 (ITGB3) and MMP2 were up-regulated in the residual tumors of HCCLM3 xenograft model. The up-regulation of ITGB3 was confirmed by qRT-PCR, Western blot and immunohistochemistry. Knockdown ITGB3 expression in HCCLM3 cells by shRNA significantly lowered the pro-metastatic effects of insufficient RFA. Mechanism studies indicated that ITGB3 mediated the expression of MMP2 by activing FAK/PI3K/AKT signaling pathway. The up-regulation of ITGB3 contributed to enhanced metastatic potential of residual cancer in HCCLM3 model after insufficient RFA. Targeting ITGB3 expression may further improve the clinical effects of RFA.

Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); ITGB3; Metastasis.; Radiofrequency ablation (RFA).