Autocrine STIP1 signaling promotes tumor growth and is associated with disease outcome in hepatocellular carcinoma

Zebin Chen, Lixia Xu, Tianhong Su, Zunfu Ke, Zhenwei Peng, Ning Zhang, Sui Peng, Qiuyang Zhang, Gengxun Liu, Guangyan Wei, Yu Guo, Minghui He, Ming Kuang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Stress-induced phosphoprotein 1 (STIP1) is an adaptor protein that bridges between HSP70 and HSP90 folding and a secretory protein which regulates malignant cell growth. However, the role of STIP1 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains unknown. Here, we found high expression of STIP1 in tumors was associated with worse overall survival (41.3 vs 62.7 months, P < 0.001) in 231 HCC patients. STIP1 was overexpressed in HCC tissues compared to adjacent non-tumor liver tissue (64.9% vs 4.0% P < 0.001), and serum STIP1 levels of HCC patients were elevated compared to healthy controls (P < 0.001). Mechanistically, STIP1 promoted HCC growth through PI3K-AKT-dependent anti-apoptotic pathway. STIP1 mediated cell growth in an autocrine fashion, which could be suppressed either by neutralizing extracellular STIP1 or by knocking down intracellular STIP1. In xenograft mouse model, knockdown of STIP1 significantly reduced tumor growth (P < 0.001). In conclusion, STIP1 is upregulated in HCC and associated with poor clinical prognosis. Blocking STIP1 activity suppresses HCC cell growth, providing the rationale for STIP1 as a potential therapeutic target in HCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-372
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 4 2017


  • Apoptosis
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Prognosis
  • Secretory protein
  • Stress-induced phosphoprotein 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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