Dr. Meital Gal-Tanamy – Hepatitis C Virus Enhances the Invasiveness of Hepatocellular Carcinoma via EGFR-Mediated Invadopodia Formation and Activation

Abstract

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents the fifth most common cancer worldwide and the third cause of cancer-related mortality. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the leading cause of chronic hepatitis, which often results in liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, and eventually HCC. HCV is the most common risk factor for HCC in western countries and leads to a more aggressive and invasive disease with poorer patient survival rates. However, the mechanism by which the virus induces the metastatic spread of HCC tumor cells through the regulation of invadopodia, the key features of invasive cancer, is still unknown. Here, the integration of transcriptome with functional kinome screen revealed that HCV infection induced invasion and invadopodia-related gene expression combined with activation of host cell tyrosine kinases, leading to invadopodia formation and maturation and consequent cell invasiveness in vitro and in vivo. The promotion of invadopodia following HCV infection was mediated by the sustained stimulation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) via the viral NS3/4A protease that inactivates the T-cell protein tyrosine phosphatase (TC-PTP), which inhibits EGFR signaling. Characterization of an invadopodia-associated gene signature in HCV-mediated HCC tumors correlated with the invasiveness of HCC and poor patient prognosis. These findings might lead to new prognostic and therapeutic strategies for virus-mediated invasive cancer.

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