Increased fibrillarin expression is associated with tumor progression and an unfavorable prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma
- Jing Zhang
- Gang Yang
- Qiang Li
- Fei Xie
Affiliations: Department of Gastroenterology, Affiliated Hospital of North Sichuan Medical College, Nanchong, Sichuan 637000, P.R. China, Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Affiliated Hospital of North Sichuan Medical College, Nanchong, Sichuan 637000, P.R. China, Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The First People's Hospital of Neijiang, Neijiang, Sichuan 641000, P.R. China
- Published online on: December 6, 2020 https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2020.12353
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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the sixth most common cancer and third most common cause of cancer‑associated mortality worldwide. Hepatectomy and liver transplantation are the main treatments for early HCC. Immunotherapy and targeted therapy for advanced HCC have become increasingly popular; however, their clinical benefits are limited. Thus, identification of novel therapeutic targets for advanced HCC remains essential. Fibrillarin (FBL) is an essential nucleolar protein that catalyzes the 2'‑O‑methylation of ribosomal RNAs. Recently, experimental data have suggested that FBL can influence breast‑cancer progression. However, the association between FBL expression and HCC remains known. In the present study, the UALCAN database was used to assess FBL mRNA expression in HCC. Immunohistochemistry analysis was performed to detect FBL protein expression in 139 patients with HCC. In addition, bioinformatic analysis was performed using the UALCAN, the Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery, cBioportal and TargetScan databases. Data were analyzed using Kaplan‑Meier curves and the log‑rank test, and a Cox proportional hazards regression model. The results demonstrated that FBL expression was significantly higher in tumor tissues compared with para‑tumor tissues. Furthermore, high FBL expression was significantly associated with tumor diameter and advanced TNM stage in HCC. High FBL expression also predicted a shorter overall survival time and disease‑free survival time in patients with HCC. Bioinformatics analysis demonstrated that FBL may be regulated by methylation modification. In addition, analyses of functional annotations using the Gene Ontology database indicated that FBL‑related genes were predominantly enriched in DNA repair and proliferation‑related cell‑signaling pathways. Notably, high FBL expression signified larger tumor diameter, advanced tumor stage and a poor prognosis. Taken together, the results of the present study suggest that FBL may be a potential target for HCC treatment.