Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 2 pp 1171—1185

DNASE1L3 as an indicator of favorable survival in hepatocellular carcinoma patients following resection

Shuncong Wang1,2,3, *, , Haiqing Ma1,3, *, , Xuemin Li1,3, *, , Xiangqiong Mo4, , Haiyu Zhang1, , Lewei Yang1, , Yun Deng1, , Yan Yan1, , Guangwei Yang1,3, , Xingwei Liu3,4, , Huanhuan Sun3,5, ,

  • 1 Department of Oncology, The Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai 519000, Guangdong, China
  • 2 KU Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, Faculty of Medicine, Leuven 3000, Belgium
  • 3 Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Biomedical Imaging, The Fifth Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai 519000, Guangdong, China
  • 4 Department of General Surgery, The Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai 519000, Guangdong, China
  • 5 Central Laboratory, The Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai 519000, Guangdong, China
* Equal contribution

Received: October 1, 2019       Accepted: December 25, 2019       Published: January 24, 2020
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2020 Wang et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common malignancy with a dismal prognosis. It is of great importance to identify biomarkers for the prediction of patients’ survival.

The mRNA expression level of deoxyribonuclease 1 like 3 (DNASE1L3) and its correlation with survival were accessed in 424 samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas database. Its expression level was confirmed by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blotting in 20 pairs of postsurgical specimens. In addition, immunohistochemistry staining of DNASE1L3 was also performed in 113 postoperative samples, using a histochemistry score system. The relationship between patients’ survival and DNASE1L3 expression level was evaluated by the Kaplan-Meier method.

DNASE1L3 is downregulated in both mRNA and protein levels in HCC tissues, compared with adjacent normal tissues. 52 of 113 HCC specimens showed positive DNASE1L3 protein expression. Patients with positive DNASE1L3 expression had significantly longer overall survival, compared with patients with negative expression (p = 0.023). However, the DNASE1L3 fails to discriminate progression-free survival (p = 0.134). Multivariate COX analysis revealed that positive DNASE1L3 expression and higher differentiation were significantly associated with better overall survival.

This study demonstrated that positive DNASE1L3 expression is an independent prognostic factor for better survival in HCC patients following radical resection.


AFP: alpha-fetoprotein; DNA: deoxyribonucleic acid; DNASE1L3: deoxyribonuclease 1 like 3; FPKM: fragments per kilobase of transcript per million mapped reads; HBsAg: hepatitis B virus surface antigen; HBV: hepatitis B virus; HCC: hepatocellular carcinoma; HCV: hepatitis C virus; HR: hazard ratio; IHC: immunohistochemistry; LIHC: liver hepatocellular carcinoma; OS: overall survival; PFS: progression-free survival; RT-qPCR: real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction; SLE: systemic lupus erythematosus; TCGA: the Cancer Genome Atlas Program.