Stanniocalcin-1 reduces tumor size in human hepatocellular carcinoma

Bonnie H.Y. Yeung, Felix H. Shek, Nikki P. Lee, Chris K C WONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Growing evidence has revealed high expression levels of stanniocalcin-1 (STC1) in different types of human cancers. Numerous experimental studies using cancer cell lines demonstrated the involvement of STC1 in inflammatory and apoptotic processes; however the role of STC1 in carcinogenesis remains elusive. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) an exemplified model of inflammation-related cancer, represents a paradigm of studying the association between STC1 and tumor development. Therefore, we conducted a statistical analysis on the expression levels of STC1 using clinicopathological data from 216 HCC patients. We found that STC1 was upregulated in the tumor tissues and its expression levels was positively correlated with the levels of interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8. Intriguingly tumors with greater expression levels of STC1 (tumor/normal ≥ 2) were significantly smaller than the lower level (tumor/normal<2) samples (p = 0.008). A pharmacological approach was implemented to reveal the functional correlation between STC1 and the ILs in the HCC cell-lines. IL-6 and IL-8 treatment of Hep3B cells induced STC1 expression. Lentiviral-based STC1 overexpression in Hep3B and MHCC-97L cells however showed inhibitory action on the pro-migratory effects of IL-6 and IL-8 and reduced size of tumor spheroids. The inhibitory effect of STC1 on tumor growth was confirmed in vivo using the stable STC1-overexpressing 97L cells on a mouse xenograft model. Genetic analysis of the xenografts derived from the STC1-overexpressing 97L cells, showed upregulation of the pro-apoptotic genes interleukin- 12 and NOD-like receptor family, pyrin domain-containing 3. Collectively, the antiinflammatory and pro-apoptotic functions of STC1 were suggested to relate its inhibitory effect on the growth of HCC cells. This study supports the notion that STC1 may be a potential therapeutic target for inflammatory tumors in HCC patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0139977
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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