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The role of CXC cytokines as biomarkers and potential targets in hepatocellular carcinoma

Yonghui Wang Jianhui Huang Zhifeng Tian Yuefen Zhou Jie Yang

*Corresponding author: Jie Yang yjie245@163.com


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the deadliest cancers worldwide. At present, few effective biomarkers and targets are available for prognosis and treatment of HCC. Chemokines are a group of small proinflammatory chemoattractant cytokines binding to specific G-protein-coupled seven-span transmembrane receptors, which could recruit various immune cells to diverse tissues. Mountainous evidence from cell lines, animal models, even human liver tissues indicates that CXC cytokines display a strong correlation with HCC tumorigenesis. Nevertheless, the accurate expression patterns as well as functions of these CXCLs remain unclear. This study aims to explore the mRNA transcriptional and survival analysis of CXCLs in patients with HCC from the databases involving ONCOMINE, GEPIA, and cBioPortal databases. The result showed that the mRNA expression levels of CXCL2/12/14 were significantly lower in HCC tissues than those in adjacent tissues. By contrast, the mRNA expression levels of CXCL9/10 were significantly higher in HCC tissues. The expression levels of CXCL3/5 were correlated with different tumor stages. The survival analysis demonstrated that high transcriptional levels of CLCL1/3/5/8 may exhibit poorer overall survival in patients with HCC while high CXCL2 in patients with HCC may confer better overall survival. In conclusion, our study uncovered that CXCL2/5/9/10/12/14 may be novel biomarkers for the prognosis of HCC and that CXCL1/2/3/5/8 could server as potential targets in the precise treatment of HCC.

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