Prognostic significance of Nemo-like kinase expression in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma
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Nemo-like kinase (NLK) is an evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine protein kinase and belongs to the extracellular signal-regulated kinases/microtubule-associated protein kinase families (Erks/MAPKs). Previous studies have indicated that abnormal expressions of NLK played critical roles in various types of human cancers. Recent studies suggested that NLK expression was significantly upregulated in the hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) specimens. However, the clinical significance of NLK expression in HCC remains largely unknown. In this study, we focused on the clinical significance of NLK in HCC and found that high expression of NLK was significantly associated with Edmondson–Steiner grade (P = 0.002), tumor size (P = 0.022), and no. of tumor nodules (P < 0.001), and NLK was positively correlated with proliferation marker Ki-67 (P < 0.01). Univariate analysis suggested that NLK expression was associated with poor prognosis (P < 0.001). Multivariate analysis indicated that NLK expression was an independent prognostic indicator for HCC (P = 0.0370). In conclusion, NLK overexpression is associated with poor overall survival in patients with HCC, it might be an independent poor prognostic marker for HCC.
KeywordsHepatocellular carcinoma Nemo-like kinase Immunohistochemistry Prognostic significance
We would like to acknowledge the reviewers for their helpful comments on this paper. We would also like to thank our colleagues at the Department of Clinical Laboratory, the First Hospital of Qinhuangdao.
Conflicts of interest