Article Abstract

Alternatively activated NUSAP1 promotes tumor growth and indicates poor prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma

Authors: Chao Shi, Hui Xu, Junyu Liu, Yuanbin Zhong, Xinping Zhang, Xiaoqin Tong, Lunli Zhang, Xiaopeng Li, Libin Deng


Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignancies with high mortality. The key genes involved in initiation and development of HCC is not entirely clear.
Methods: We performed a meta-analysis of available transcriptome data from 6 independent HCC datasets [5 datasets from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) and 1 dataset from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)]. The associations of the nucleolar and spindle-associated protein 1 (NUSAP1) expression level with clinicopathological factors and survival times were analyzed. Two representative HCC cell models were built to observe the proliferation capacity of HCC cells when NUSAP1 expression was inhibited by shNUSAP1.
Results: Based on the transcriptome and survival data in the GEO and TCGA databases, NUSAP1 gene was markedly upregulated in HCC. High expression of NUSAP1 in HCC is related to the iCluster1 molecular subgroup, poor survival, poor tumor differentiation and TNM stage. Additionally, pathway analysis based on RNAseq data suggested that NUSAP1 could activate the expression of genes involves in cell proliferation. Furthermore, downregulation of NUSAP1 expression could significantly inhibit the proliferation of SMMC-7721 and Huh7 cells in vitro.
Conclusions: Our study provides evidence that NUSAP1 may serve as a candidate prognostic marker and a target for future therapeutic intervention in HCC.