Objective The cellular apoptosis susceptibility (CAS) protein plays a regulatory role in the induction of cell death in tumor cells. The objective of this study was to investigate the association of the expression of CAS protein with HBV infection in the development of HCC.
Methods The expression level of CAS was measured with immunohistochemistry. The occurrence of HBsAg, HBeAg and HBV DNA in HCC were concurrently examined with immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization, respectively.
Results The results showed that the CAS protein was detected in 86% (43/50), 70% (7/10), 15% (3/20) and none (0/20) of livers from patients with HCC, cholangiocarcinoma, cirrhosis and hepatitis, respectively. Furthermore, the level of CAS protein was higher in poorly differentiated tumors than moderately or well differentiated HCC. Interestingly, the CAS was stained significantly stronger in HBV-infected HCC than in non-HBV infected tissues (P < 0.01).
Conclusions The expression of CAS is facilitated by HBV infection in HCC, suggesting that CAS might be a prognostic marker and a putative therapeutic target for HCC.