It is widely known that hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is highly prevalent worldwide, especially in B- and C-type hepatitis virus endemic areas. The overall prognosis of HCC remains poor, although some improved results have been achieved by curative interventions such as hepatic resection and liver transplantation in highly selected patients. Therefore, factors affecting prognosis of HCC are long of interest to clinicians.
Ye Jin and colleagues at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital in China investigated the expression, clinical, pathologic and prognostic significances of G-protein-coupled receptor kinase 3 (GRK3) in HCC. The investigators found that GRK3 expression was lower in tumour than in non-tumour tissues from 4 out of 8 patients. In the training set, the H-score of tumoural GRK3 staining was much lower than that in adjacent non-tumour liver tissues. In addition, GRK3 was associated with tumour-node-metastasis (TNM) stage and serum α-fetoprotein (AFP) level. Patients with high GRK3 tumours were found to carry significantly better tumour-specific survival compared with those with low GRK3 ones. Furthermore, GRK3 was identified as one of independent predictors of favourable prognosis, adjusted for clinicopathologic parameters.
The findings from this study indicate that GRK3 is down-regulated and predicts good prognosis in HCC. Therefore, GRK3 might function as a tumour suppressor gene in HCC.