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What Can Be Learned From the Microtubule-Binding Protein HAUS5 in Liver Carcinoma?

By: Joshua Swore, PhD
Posted: Monday, April 3, 2023

HAUS5, part of a microtubule-binding complex, has been shown to be a regulator of hepatocellular carcinoma and associated with a poor prognosis, based an article published in Scientific Reports. According to Zhihua Chen, PhD, of Suzhou Medical College of Soochow University, China, and colleagues, “in the face of economic challenges, drug resistance, and efficacy issues…, there is an urgent need to search for new potential markers for the diagnosis and treatment of liver cancer.” And, in fact, HAUS5 may serve to be an independent risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma prognosis.

The researchers acquired gene-expression data and clinical information from 374 liver cancer samples and 50 normal samples. Data were sourced from the Xena database, Broad Institute, and the Gene Expression Omnibus databases. The authors used a variety of univariate and multivariate analyses to determine the association of HAUS5 with hepatocellular carcinoma and prognosis.

The authors found that hepatocellular carcinoma samples contained higher expression of HAUS5 compared with normal samples. They then explored HAUS5 as a potential prognostic marker using a Kaplan-Meier analysis. The analysis revealed that higher levels of HAUS5 were associated with a poorer probability of overall survival, relapse-free survival, and progression-free survival when compared with individuals who had lower levels of HAUS5.

The authors then conducted an in vitro knockdown of HAUS5 to identify its role in disease pathogenesis. Plated cells with HAUS5 knockdown underwent significantly slower cell proliferation. This finding led the authors to conclude that higher levels of HAUS5 may allow faster tumor progression and, in turn, a poorer prognosis. The authors emphasized that this study indicates HAUS5 may be used as both a therapeutic target and a biomarker for prognosis.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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