Tumor Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 3809–3817 | Cite as

Axl gene knockdown inhibits the metastasis properties of hepatocellular carcinoma via PI3K/Akt-PAK1 signal pathway

  • Jingchao Xu
  • Li Jia
  • Hongye Ma
  • Yanping Li
  • Zhenhai Ma
  • Yongfu ZhaoEmail author
Research Article


The objective of this study is to clarify the possible role and mechanism of Axl in the tumorigenicity and metastasis process of hepatocellular carcinoma. The mRNA and protein expression levels of Axl in MHCC97-H and MHCC97-L cell lines were evaluated by real-time PCR and Western blot analysis. The key factor of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt-p21-activated kinases-1 (PAK1) signaling pathway was studied after Axl expression was downregulated by shRNA. Finally, we analyzed the expression status of Axl protein expression in hepatocellular carcinoma tissues and its relationship with the prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma. Axl was observed to be higher expressed in MHCC97-H cell lines compared to MHCC97-L cell lines. The downregulation of Axl in MHCC97-H cell lines resulted in the inhibition of the invasion ability of MHCC97-H cells both in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, blocking PI3K/Akt signaling pathway by LY294002 or Akt siRNA could remarkably inhibit the PAK1 activation and cell invasion. Finally, the Axl protein expression was positively correlated with differentiation, lymph node metastasis, and clinical stage in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma patients (all P < 0.01). These findings suggest that Axl can also regulate the metastasis process of hepatocellular carcinoma and may serve as a new prognostic marker and therapeutic target for treating hepatocellular carcinoma metastasis.


Axl PI3K/Akt PAK1 Metastasis Hepatocellular carcinoma 



This work was supported by a grant from The National Natural Science Foundation of China director fund (81250025).

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jingchao Xu
    • 1
  • Li Jia
    • 2
  • Hongye Ma
    • 2
  • Yanping Li
    • 2
  • Zhenhai Ma
    • 1
  • Yongfu Zhao
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of General SurgeryThe Second Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical UniversityDalianChina
  2. 2.College of Laboratory MedicineDalian Medical UniversityDalianChina

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