J Cancer 2022; 13(11):3221-3233. doi:10.7150/jca.73051 This issue Cite

Research Paper

Sex differences in hepatocellular carcinoma indicated BEX4 as a potential target to improve efficacy of lenvatinib plus immune checkpoint inhibitors

Lu Liu1*, Kangkang Yu1,*, Chong Huang1,*, Meisi Huo1, Xiaoqi Li1, Ruiqi Yin1, Chuanmiao Liu2✉, Lu Lu3✉, Huaping Sun4✉, Jubo Zhang1✉

1. Department of Infectious Diseases, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Infectious Diseases and Biosafety Emergency Response, National Medical Center for Infectious Diseases, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200040, China.
2. Department of Infectious Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital of Bengbu Medical College, Bengbu 233000, China.
3. Department of General Surgery, Huashan Hospital, Cancer Metastasis Institute, Fudan University, Shanghai 200040, China.
4. Department of Radiology, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200040, China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

Citation:
Liu L, Yu K, Huang C, Huo M, Li X, Yin R, Liu C, Lu L, Sun H, Zhang J. Sex differences in hepatocellular carcinoma indicated BEX4 as a potential target to improve efficacy of lenvatinib plus immune checkpoint inhibitors. J Cancer 2022; 13(11):3221-3233. doi:10.7150/jca.73051. https://www.jcancer.org/v13p3221.htm
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Abstract

Graphic abstract

Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common form of liver cancer, and significant sex disparities have been observed in HCC. We aim to explore the potential sex-biased mechanisms involved in hepatocarcinogenesis.

Methods: Based on TCGA data, we compared clinical features, genetic alterations, and immune cell infiltrations between male and female HCC patients. In addition, we performed sex-based differential expression analysis and functional enrichment analysis. Finally, GSE64041 dataset and another HCC cohort were engaged to validate our findings.

Results: Significant differences of genetic alterations and TME were observed between male and female HCC patients. Enhanced metabolism of lipids was associated with hepatocarcinogenesis in men, while ECM-organization-related pathways were correlated to HCC development in women. BEX4 was upregulated in female but downregulated in male HCC patients, and was positively correlated with immune checkpoint molecules and infiltrated immune cell. These findings were further validated in dataset GSE64041 and our HCC cohort. More importantly, a negative correlation was found between BEX4 expression and lenvatinib sensitivity.

Conclusion: Distinct biological processes were involved in sex-biased tumorigenesis of HCC. BEX4 can be targeted to improve the efficacy of lenvatinib plus immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, sex difference, immunity, metabolism, therapy


Citation styles

APA
Liu, L., Yu, K., Huang, C., Huo, M., Li, X., Yin, R., Liu, C., Lu, L., Sun, H., Zhang, J. (2022). Sex differences in hepatocellular carcinoma indicated BEX4 as a potential target to improve efficacy of lenvatinib plus immune checkpoint inhibitors. Journal of Cancer, 13(11), 3221-3233. https://doi.org/10.7150/jca.73051.

ACS
Liu, L.; Yu, K.; Huang, C.; Huo, M.; Li, X.; Yin, R.; Liu, C.; Lu, L.; Sun, H.; Zhang, J. Sex differences in hepatocellular carcinoma indicated BEX4 as a potential target to improve efficacy of lenvatinib plus immune checkpoint inhibitors. J. Cancer 2022, 13 (11), 3221-3233. DOI: 10.7150/jca.73051.

NLM
Liu L, Yu K, Huang C, Huo M, Li X, Yin R, Liu C, Lu L, Sun H, Zhang J. Sex differences in hepatocellular carcinoma indicated BEX4 as a potential target to improve efficacy of lenvatinib plus immune checkpoint inhibitors. J Cancer 2022; 13(11):3221-3233. doi:10.7150/jca.73051. https://www.jcancer.org/v13p3221.htm

CSE
Liu L, Yu K, Huang C, Huo M, Li X, Yin R, Liu C, Lu L, Sun H, Zhang J. 2022. Sex differences in hepatocellular carcinoma indicated BEX4 as a potential target to improve efficacy of lenvatinib plus immune checkpoint inhibitors. J Cancer. 13(11):3221-3233.

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