Actual invasive potential of human hepatocellular carcinoma revealed by in situ gelatin zymography

Toshihiko Kaneyoshi, Harushige Nakatsukasa, Toshihiro Higashi, Keishi Fujiwara, Kazuhiro Nouso, Kazuya Kariyama, Yoshiyuki Kobayashi, Masayuki Uemura, Shinichiro Nakamura, Yoshiaki Iwasaki, Takao Tsuji, Ichiro Naito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The matrix-degrading proteinases are believed to play an important role in the invasion and metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but no one has ever seen the in situ matrix-degrading activity in HCCs. Purpose: To demonstrate the cellular localization of actual gelatinolytic activity and to investigate the invasive potential of human HCC. Experimental design: HCC cases (30) were subjected to in situ gelatin zymography and SDS-gelatin gel zymogram. Results: In situ gelatin zymography revealed a heterogeneous gelatinolytic activity in HCC cells, as well as stromal cells of noncancerous livers. The gelatinolytic intensity was stronger in 15 HCC nodules than in the corresponding noncancerous livers and was significantly associated with the cancer invasion to the capsule of the HCCs and to the portal veins. An intense gelatinolytic activity was detected in HCC cells in the front of tumor invasion. SDS-gelatin gel zymogram revealed gelatinases A and B that were mostly in latent forms. Conclusions: The present study demonstrates high gelatinolytic activity at the invasive front of HCCs at a cellular level and that HCC has an invasive potential with the gelatin (matrix)-degrading metalloproteinases. Furthermore, it suggests the importance of the activation mechanism of gelatinolytic enzymes in the invasion and metastasis of HCCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4027-4032
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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