Genetically Distinct and Clinically Relevant Classification of Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Putative Therapeutic Targets

Hiroto Katoh, Hidenori Ojima, Akiko Kokubu, Shigeru Saito, Tadashi Kondo, Tomoo Kosuge, Fumie Hosoda, Issei Imoto, Johji Inazawa, Setsuo Hirohashi, Tatsuhiro Shibata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Background & Aims: The biological aggressiveness of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and the lack of optimal therapeutic strategies have rendered the disease a major challenge. Highly heterogeneous genetic alteration profiles of HCC have made it difficult to identify effective tailor-made molecular therapeutic targets. Therefore, classification of HCC into genetically homogeneous subclasses would be of great worth to develop novel therapeutic strategies. Methods: We clarified genome-scale chromosomal copy number alteration profiles and mutational statuses of p53 and β-catenin in 87 HCC tumors. We investigated the possibility that HCC might be classifiable into a number of homogeneous subclasses based solely on their genetic alteration profiles. We also explored putative molecular therapeutic targets specific for each HCC subgroup. Results: Unsupervised hierarchical cluster analysis based on chromosomal alteration profiles suggested that HCCs with heterogeneous genetic backgrounds are divisible into homogeneous subclasses that are highly associated with a range of clinicopathologic features of the tumors and moreover with clinical outcomes of the patients (P < .05). These genetically homogeneous subclasses could be characterized distinctively by pathognomonic chromosomal amplifications (eg, c-Myc-induced HCC, 6p/1q-amplified HCC, and 17q-amplified HCC). An in vitro experiment raised a possibility that Rapamycin would significantly inhibit the proliferative activities of HCCs with 17q amplification. Conclusions: HCC is composed of several genetically homogeneous subclasses, each of which harbors characteristic genetic alterations that can be putative tailor-made molecular therapeutic targets for HCCs with specific genetic backgrounds. Our results offer an opportunity for developing novel individualized therapeutic modalities for distinctive genome types of HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1475-1486
Number of pages12
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Nov
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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