Loss of lncRNA LINC01056 leads to sorafenib resistance in HCC

Yau Tuen Chan, Junyu Wu, Yuanjun Lu, Qiucheng Li, Zixin Feng, Lin Xu, Hongchao Yuan, Tingyuan Xing, Cheng Zhang, Hor Yue Tan, Yibin Feng, Ning Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Background and aims: Sorafenib is a major nonsurgical option for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); however, its clinical efficacy is largely undermined by the acquisition of resistance. The aim of this study was to identify the key lncRNA involved in the regulation of the sorafenib response in HCC. 

Materials and methods: A clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) single-guide RNA (sgRNA) synergistic activation mediator (SAM)-pooled lncRNA library was applied to screen for the key lncRNA regulated by sorafenib treatment. The role of the identified lncRNA in mediating the sorafenib response in HCC was examined in vitro and in vivo. The underlying mechanism was delineated by proteomic analysis. The clinical significance of the expression of the identified lncRNA was evaluated by multiplex immunostaining on a human HCC microtissue array. 

Results: CRISPR/Cas9 lncRNA library screening revealed that Linc01056 was among the most downregulated lncRNAs in sorafenib-resistant HCC cells. Knockdown of Linc01056 reduced the sensitivity of HCC cells to sorafenib, suppressing apoptosis in vitro and promoting tumour growth in mice in vivo. Proteomic analysis revealed that Linc01056 knockdown in sorafenib-treated HCC cells induced genes related to fatty acid oxidation (FAO) while repressing glycolysis-associated genes, leading to a metabolic switch favouring higher intracellular energy production. FAO inhibition in HCC cells with Linc01056 knockdown significantly restored sensitivity to sorafenib. Mechanistically, we determined that PPARα is the critical molecule governing the metabolic switch upon Linc01056 knockdown in HCC cells and indeed, PPARα inhibition restored the sorafenib response in HCC cells in vitro and HCC tumours in vivo. Clinically, Linc01056 expression predicted optimal overall and progression-free survival outcomes in HCC patients and predicted a better sorafenib response. Linc01056 expression indicated a low FAO level in HCC. 

Conclusion: Our study identified Linc01056 as a critical epigenetic regulator and potential therapeutic target in the regulation of the sorafenib response in HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular Cancer
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

User-Defined Keywords

  • CRISPR/Cas9 screens
  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • LINC01056
  • PPARα
  • Sorafenib


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