Background: Cortactin is an important regulator involved in invasion and migration of tumor cells. Although the relationship between cortactin and tumor invasion has been reported, it lacks follow-up evidence to support the forecasting role of cortactin for HCC prognosis. The aim of this study was to determine whether cortactin detection combined with clinicopathologic features predicts the prognosis efficaciously.
Methods: 91 resectable HCCs were grouped according to clinicopathologic characteristics, and immunohistochemical (IHC) cortactin tumor tissue expression was evaluated. Cortactin gene (CTTN) mRNA of 77 HCCs, as well as that of 20 normal liver tissues, was examined by real-time PCR. Kaplan-Meier method was used for survival analysis.
Results: It was found that cortactin expression was associated with liver capsule integrity, cancer embolus in portal vein or distant neoplasm metastasis, and with TNM stage. (p < 0.01) Moreover, CTTN mRNA expression level was higher in high invasiveness group. But no statistical significance was found between low invasiveness and normal control groups. Combining cortactin and CTTN mRNA detection with clinicopathologic features improved the predictive power. High expression of both cortactin and CTTN indicated poor survival time of 12 ± 3.67 months and low expression indicated longer median survival time of 65 ± 6.62 months.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate for the first time that cortactin overexpression indicates highly invasive potentialities and poor prognoses with HCCs. Further, the results also suggest that this new accurate evaluating method may be more useful to survival prediction and, therefore, the clinical decision making for resectable HCCs.