Background: Obesity is associated with several human malignancies, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This association may result from the deregulated expression of adipokines.
Aims: To explore the potential role and the prognostic value of leptin receptor (Ob-R) in HCC.
Methods: 66 patients with pathologically confirmed HCC were included in this study. Immunohistochemistry was used to evaluate the expression of Ob-R, microvessel density (MVD) and Ki-67 index in these patients. Eventually, the profiles of Ob-R expression, obtained by a semiquantitative scoring system, were further correlated with Ki-67 expression, intratumour MVD, clinicopathological characteristics and overall survival.
Results: High Ob-R expression was seen in 53% of patients with HCC and was significantly correlated with intratumour MVD (high v low; 59.4 ?3.2) v 44.7 ?3.7); p = 0.004), but not with Ki-67 expression. In addition, Ob-R expression was inversely correlated with vascular invasion (p = 0.037), but not with other known clinicopathological characteristics. The Kaplan–Meier survival curve showed that high Ob-R expression was associated with a better overall survival (p = 0.027). Meanwhile, multivariate analysis showed that Ob-R expression was a significant determinant for HCC (odds ratio 0.02, 95% confidence interval 0.01 to 0.85; p = 0.041).
Conclusion: Ob-R expression may have a potential role in the carcinogenesis of HCC. The positive association of Ob-R expression in the cancerous lesions of HCC with the survival outcome can be explained by its inverse correlation with vascular invasion, and may have prognostic value in HCC.
- HCC, hepatocellular carcinoma
- Ob-R, leptin receptor
- MVD, microvessel density
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Published Online First 24 March 2006
Competing interests: None declared.