Aim: To describe the significant over-expression of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3), which is a signal transduction and cell proliferation related gene in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Methods: Following DNA microarray, Northern blot and quantitative real-time PCR were employed to confirm FGFR3 expression difference in HCC tissues and surrounding non-neoplastic liver tissue. FGFR3 expression levels were further determined by immunohistochemical study in 43 cases of HCC. Results: Northern blot results showed the significant over-expression of FGFR3 in HCC tissues, which was consistent with that from DNA microarray. Quantitative real-time PCR demonstrated that the mean ratio of FGFR3 mRNA to glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GADPH) mRNA in HCC tissue was 0.250, whereas the ratio in non-neoplastic liver tissue was 0.014. Statistical analyses of 43 cases of HCC revealed that HCC scored higher than the matched non-neoplastic liver tissues. Examination of clinicopathological features revealed a strong correlation of over-expression of FGFR3 with poor tumor differentiation and high nuclear grade. Conclusion: Over-expression of FGFR3 may play an important role in liver carcinogenesis. FGFR3 may be an ideal candidate as a molecular marker in the diagnosis of HCC and a potential therapeutic target.
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