Role of purinergic receptors in hepatobiliary carcinoma in Pakistani population: an approach towards proinflammatory role of P2X4 and P2X7 receptors

Purinergic Signal. 2019 Sep;15(3):367-374. doi: 10.1007/s11302-019-09675-0. Epub 2019 Aug 10.


The primary malignancy of liver, known as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), comprises 9% of all hepatobiliary carcinomas. A steady rise has also been observed in adenocarcinoma (ADC) of the liver and ampullary carcinoma (AMC), ascending to 0.5% of gastrointestinal malignancies. Hepatobiliary carcinomas consist of 13% of all cancer occurrences worldwide. Purinergic receptor-based signaling holds the therapeutic potential based on its role in cell proliferation of several carcinomas. An altered ATP concentration in nanomoles may lead towards crucial changes in cancer growth patterns in liver tissue. A total of 40 tissue samples were collected (20 samples of HCC, 10 samples of ADC, and 10 samples of AMC) from patients that underwent surgery. P2X4 and P2X7 receptors exhibited significantly increased expression in HCC, ADC, and AMC samples as compared with the control tissue samples. While ADC and AMC samples showed higher expression of P2X4 and P2X7 than the control, statistically, HCC samples exhibited the most significant expression of both P2X4 and P2X7 receptors than control tissues. It may be inferred that higher expression of P2X4 and P2X7 receptors is significantly associated with the upregulated cellular stress leading to inflammation and it is plausible that both these receptors may be used in diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools for carcinoma studies in the future.

Keywords: Cancer microenvironment; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Inflammatory precursor; Purinergic signaling.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Common Bile Duct Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Common Bile Duct Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Pakistan
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X4 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X7 / metabolism*


  • P2RX4 protein, human
  • P2RX7 protein, human
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X4
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X7