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Di Maso V.,FIF Fondazione Italiana Fegato Area Science Park Basovizza | Mediavilla M.G.,FIF Fondazione Italiana Fegato Area Science Park Basovizza | Mediavilla M.G.,National University of Rosario | Vascotto C.,University of Udine | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Objective Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most frequent neoplasm worldwide and the most serious complication of long-standing chronic liver diseases (CLD). Its development is associated with chronic inflammation and sustained oxidative stress. Deregulation of apurinic apyrimidinic endonuclease 1/redox effector factor 1 (APE1/Ref-1), a master regulator of cellular response to oxidative stress, has been associated with poor prognosis in several cancers including HCC. Design In the present study we investigated the APE1/Ref-1 mRNA levels in cirrhotic and HCC tissues obtained during HCC resection. The possible protective role of APE1/Ref-1 against oxidative stress and apoptosis was evaluated in vitro in immortalized human hepatocytes (IHH) over-expressing APE1/Ref-1. Results APE1/Ref-1 was up-regulated in HCC, regulation occurring at the transcriptional level. APE1/Ref-1 mRNA content increased with the progression of liver disease with the transcriptional up-regulation present in cirrhosis significantly increased in HCC. The up-regulation was higher in the less differentiated cancers. In vitro, over-expression of APE1/Ref-1 in normal hepatocytes conferred cell protection against oxidative stress and it was associated with BAX inhibition and escape from apoptosis. Conclusion APE1/Ref-1 is up-regulated in HCC and this over-expression correlates with cancer aggressiveness. The up-regulation occurs at the transcriptional level and it is present in the earliest phases of hepatocarcinogenesis. The APE-1/Ref-1 over-expression is associated with hepatocyte survival and inhibits BAX activation and apoptosis. These data suggest a possible role of APE1/Ref-1 over-expression both in hepatocyte survival and HCC development calling attention to this molecule as a promising marker for HCC diagnosis and treatment. © 2015 Di Maso et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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