Home Neoplasma 2022 Neoplasma Vol.69, No.6, p. 1349–1358, 2022

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Neoplasma Vol.69, No.6, p. 1349–1358, 2022

Title: PHF21A expression as a biomarker of hepatocellular carcinoma progression and prognosis
Author: Jia-Qing Huang, Li-Chen Ji, Qian-Gan Jing, Yi-Chen He, Ying-Yu Ma, Xiang-Min Tong


Previous studies have shown that PHF21A is associated with the initiation and progression of various tumors. However, its role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is still unclear. Thus, this study aimed to determine the expression and clinical significance of PHF21A in HCC. PHF21A expression in 201 liver cancer samples and 129 adjacent normal tissues was detected by immunohistochemistry. The correlation between PHF21A expression and the clinicopathological features and prognosis of HCC was verified in 70 other liver tissue microarray samples. The relationship between PHF21A expression and HCC immune cell infiltration was explored via the Tumor Immune Estimation Resource (TIMER). The mechanism underlying the effect of PHF21A on HCC progression was analyzed by gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) and protein‒protein interaction (PPI) network analysis. Immunohistochemical staining showed that PHF21A expression in HCC tissue was significantly lower than that in adjacent nontumor liver tissue and was associated with patient sex, tumor size, metastasis, and Edmondson grade (p < 0.05).

Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated that low PHF21A expression was associated with a poor prognosis, and Cox regression analysis showed that PHF21A was an independent predictor of prognosis. TIMER analysis showed that PHF21A is positively correlated with tumor immune cell infiltration levels. Functional annotation indicated that PHF21A is involved in important pathways, including transcriptional deregulation pathways in cancer. Finally, in vitro experiments confirmed the low expression of PHF21A in HCC cells. PHF21A affects the progression and prognosis of HCC, suggesting that PHF21A may play an important role in monitoring and preventing the development of HCC.

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma; PHF21A; prognosis; immune cell infiltration; immunotherapy
Published online: 28-Oct-2022
Year: 2022, Volume: 69, Issue: 6 Page From: 1349, Page To: 1358

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