Research Paper Volume 10, Issue 7 pp 1627—1639

A three-long non-coding RNA-expression-based risk score system can better predict both overall and recurrence-free survival in patients with small hepatocellular carcinoma

Jingxian Gu 1, , Xing Zhang 1, , Runchen Miao 1, , Xiaohua Ma 1, , Xiaohong Xiang 1, , Yunong Fu 1, , Chang Liu 1, , Wenquan Niu 2, , Kai Qu 1, ,

  • 1 Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’a, Shaanxi 710061, China
  • 2 Institute of Clinical Medical Sciences, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing 100029, China

received: May 5, 2018 ; accepted: July 6, 2018 ; published: July 13, 2018 ;
How to Cite

Copyright: Gu et al. This is an open‐access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Growing evidence indicates that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) may be potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets for many disease conditions, including cancer. In this study, we constructed a risk score system of three lncRNAs (LOC101927051, LINC00667 and NSUN5P2) for predicting the prognosis of small hepatocellular carcinoma (sHCC) (maximum tumor diameter ≤5 cm). The prognostic value of this sHCC risk model was confirmed in TCGA HCC samples (TNM stage I and II). Stratified survival analysis revealed that the suitable patient groups of the sHCC lncRNA-signature included HBV-infected and cirrhotic patients with better physical conditions yet lower levels of albumin and higher levels of alpha-fetoprotein preoperatively. Besides, Asian patients with no family history of HCC or history of alcohol consumption can be predicted more precisely. Molecular functional analysis indicated that PYK2 pathway was significantly enriched in the high-risk patients. Pathway enrichment analysis indicated that the two lncRNAs (LINC00667 and NSUN5P2) associated with poor prognosis were closely related to cell cycle. The nomogram based on the lncRNA-signature for RFS prediction in sHCC patients exhibited good performance in recurrence risk stratification. In conclusion, we identified a novel three-lncRNA-expression-based risk model for predicting the prognosis of sHCC.


lncRNA: long non-coding RNA; sHCC: small hepatocellular carcinoma; OS: overall survival; RFS: recurrence-free survival; HR: hazard ratio; CI: confidence interval; KM curve: Kaplan-Meier curve.