Loss of Claudin-1 Expression Correlates with Malignancy of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Yukihiro Higashi, Shohachi Suzuki, Takanori Sakaguchi, Toshio Nakamura, Satoshi Baba, Hans Christian Reinecker, Satoshi Nakamura, Hiroyuki Konno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Background: The prognosis for the hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patient is affected by invasion and metastases. The attenuated expression of adherens junction protein epithelial-cadherin (E-cad) correlates with a more malignant potential in HCC. However, the potential of the claudin (CL) family of tight junctional proteins for HCC prognosis has remained unrecognized. Materials and methods: We immunohistochemically examined the expression of CL-1 and E-cad in resected specimens from 55 HCC cases. The percentage of CL-1- or E-cad-positive cells was counted in HCC cells and the surrounding hepatocytes and scored as 0 (0%), 1 (1-33%), 2 (34-66%), and 3 (67-100%). The expression of CL-1 or E-cad was considered "preserved" if the score in HCC was equal to or more than that in the surrounding hepatocytes, and "attenuated" if not so. Results: In nontumorous tissue, CL-1 and E-cad were observed at the lateral surface of hepatocytes and biliary epithelial cells. In well-differentiated HCCs, the expression of CL-1 and E-cad was preserved in 12 of 14 cases. In poorly differentiated HCCs, E-cad expression was preserved in 9 of 18 cases, while CL-1 expression was preserved in only 4 cases (P < 0.01 versus well-differentiated HCCs). HCCs with portal invasion showed significantly attenuated CL-1 expression than those without portal invasion (P < 0.05). The survival rate after hepatectomy for HCC with attenuated CL-1 expression was significantly lower than that for HCC with preserved CL-1 expression. Conclusions: Attenuated expression of CL-1 closely correlates with the dedifferentiation and portal invasion of HCC. Down-regulated CL-1 expression may serve as a potential marker for a poor prognosis in HCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • E-cadherin
  • adherens junction
  • claudin
  • hepatectomy
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • tight junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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