Background: GDP Dissociation inhibitor 2 (GDI2) gene has been correlated with some important biological processes in a variety of cancers, whereas the role of GDI2 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is ill-defined. We aimed to demonstrate the relationship between GDI2 and HCC based on The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data mining.

Methods: The expression of GDI2 was compared between cancer and normal tissues of 371 HCC patients collected from TCGA-LIHC, and verified in HCC cell lines. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) was applied to annotate biological function of GDI2. Furthermore, Wilcoxon rank sum test, Logistics regression, as well as Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, were employed to evaluate the association of GDI2 expression with clinicopathological characteristics, and survival status of HCC patients, respectively.

Results: It showed that the expression of GDI2 was much higher in tumor tissues than in normal tissues (P < 0.001) of HCC patients. And the elevated expression of GDI2 was correlated with more aggressive HCC tumor status, including severe primary tumor extent, advanced pathological stage, serious histologic grade, and mutated TP53 status (P < 0.05). Moreover, high GDI2 expression was strongly associated with a poor survival rate (P < 0.001). Both enrichment and immune infiltration analyses implied that GDI2-associated signaling mainly involve lipid metabolism and extracellular matrix (ECM) constructing pathways related to tumor microenvironment (TME) (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: The elevated expression of GDI2 predicts poor prognosis in HCC patients, indicating that GDI2 could be applied as a predictive biomarker for diagnosis and prognosis of HCC.