Galectin-9 Acts as a Prognostic Factor with Antimetastatic Potential in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

  • Zhang, Zhao-Yang (Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Qilu Hospital of Shandong University) ;
  • Dong, Jia-Hong (Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Division of Surgery, Chinese PLA General Hospital) ;
  • Chen, Yong-Wei (Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Division of Surgery, Chinese PLA General Hospital) ;
  • Wang, Xian-Qiang (Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Division of Surgery, Chinese PLA General Hospital) ;
  • Li, Chong-Hui (Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Division of Surgery, Chinese PLA General Hospital) ;
  • Wang, Jian (Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Division of Surgery, Chinese PLA General Hospital) ;
  • Wang, Guo-Qiang (Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Division of Surgery, Chinese PLA General Hospital) ;
  • Li, Hai-Lin (Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Division of Surgery, Chinese PLA General Hospital) ;
  • Wang, Xue-Dong (Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Division of Surgery, Chinese PLA General Hospital)
  • Published : 2012.06.30


Considerable research has been conducted concerning galectin-9 and carcinomas, but little information is available about any relation with the hepatocellular carcinoma. In this study, we employed a small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting galectin-9 to down-regulate the expression in HepG2 cells. As a result, after galectin-9 expression was reduced, cell aggregation was suppressed, while other behaviour such as the proliferation, adhesion and invasion to ECM, cell-endothelial adhesion and transendothelial invasion of the cells were markedly enhanced. When tumors of 200 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma were tested for galectin-9 expression by immunohistochemistry, binding levels demonstrated intimate correlations with the histopathologic grade, lymph node metastasis, vascular invasion and intrahepatic metastasis (P<0.05). Moreover, survival analysis indicated that patients with galectin-9 expression had much longer survival time than those with negative lesions, and the Log-rank test indicated that this difference was statistical significant (P<0.0001). The Cox proportional hazards model suggested that negative galectin-9 expression in hepatocellular carcinoma represented a significant risk factor for patient survival. We propose that galectin-9 might be a new prognostic factor with antimetastatic potential in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.


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