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L1 cell adhesion molecule overexpression in hepatocellular carcinoma associates with advanced tumor progression and poor patient survival

Xiaodong Guo12, Lu Xiong3, Lin Zou4, Ting Sun5, Jing Zhang3, Hanwei Li1, Ruiyun Peng3* and Jingmin Zhao1*

Author affiliations

1 Postgraduate Medical School of PLA, Beijing, 100853, China

2 302 Hospital of PLA, Beijing, 100039, China

3 Beijing Institute of Radiation Medicine, 27 Taiping Road, Beijing, 100850, China

4 PLA GENERAL HOSPITAL Beijing China, Beijing, 100853, China

5 Navy General Hospital of PLA, Beijing, 100049, China

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Citation and License

Diagnostic Pathology 2012, 7:96  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-7-96

Published: 13 August 2012



L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM), as a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily, has recently been observed in a variety of human malignancies. However, no data of L1CAM are available for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of L1CAM in HCC and determine its correlation with tumor progression and prognosis.


One-hundred and thirty HCC patients who had undergone curative liver resection were selected and immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR) were performed to analyze L1CAM expression in the respective tumors.


Immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and Q-PCR consistently confirmed the overexpression of L1CAM in HCC tissues compared with their adjacent nonneoplastic tissues at both protein and gene level (both P <0.01). Additionally, the high expression of L1CAM was significantly associated with advanced tumor stage (P = 0.02) and advanced tumor grade (P = 0.03), respectively. Moreover, HCC patients with high L1CAM expression were significantly associated with lower 5-year overall survival (P <0.01) and lower 5-year disease-free survival (P <0.01), respectively. The Cox proportional hazards model further showed that L1CAM over-expression was an independent poor prognostic factor for both 5-year disease-free survival (P = 0.02) and 5-year overall survival (P = 0.008) in HCC.


Our data suggest for the first time that L1CAM expression in HCC was significantly correlated with the advanced tumor progression and was an independent poor prognostic factor for both overall survival and disease-free survival in patients with HCC.

Virtual slides

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Hepatocellular carcinoma; L1 cell adhesion molecule; Expression; Tumor progression; Prognosis