Hepatocellular carcinoma and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma account for 95% of primary liver cancer. For each of these malignancies, the outcome is dismal; incidence is rapidly increasing, and mechanistic understanding is limited. We observed abnormal proliferation of both biliary epithelium and hepatocytes in mice after genetic manipulation of Yes-associated protein, a transcription coactivator. Here, we comprehensively documented Yes-associated protein expression in the human liver and primary liver cancers. We showed that nuclear Yes-associated protein expression is significantly increased in human intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. We found that increased Yes-associated protein levels in hepatocellular carcinoma are due to multiple mechanisms including gene amplification and transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation. Survivin, a member of the inhibitors-of- apoptosis protein family, has been reported as an independent prognostic factor for poor survival in both hepatocellular carcinoma and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. We found that nuclear Yes-associated protein expression correlates significantly with nuclear Survivin expression for both intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. Furthermore, using mice engineered to conditionally overexpress Yes-associated protein in the liver, we found that Survivin messenger RNA expression depends upon Yes-associated protein levels. Our findings suggested that Yes-associated protein contributes to primary liver tumorigenesis and likely mediates its oncogenic effects through modulating Survivin expression.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Yes-associated protein
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine