Hepatocyte-Derived Lipocalin 2 Is a Potential Serum Biomarker Reflecting Tumor Burden in Hepatoblastoma by Laura Molina

August 1, 2018

From the article: Hepatoblastoma (HB) is the most common pediatric liver malignant tumor. Previously, we reported co-activation of β-catenin and Yes-associated protein-1 (YAP1) in 80% of HB. Hepatic co-expression of active β-catenin and YAP1 via sleeping beauty transposon/transposase and hydrodynamic tail vein injection led to HB development in mice. Here, we identify lipocalin 2 (Lcn2) as a target of β-catenin and YAP1 in HB and show that serum Lcn2 values positively correlated with tumor burden. Lcn2 was strongly expressed in HB tumor cells in our mouse model. A tissue array of 62 HB cases showed highest LCN2 expression in embryonal and lowest in fetal, blastemal, and small cell undifferentiated forms of HB. Knockdown of LCN2 in HB cells had no effect on cell proliferation but reduced NF-κB reporter activity. Next, liver-specific Lcn2 knockout (KO) mice were generated. No difference in tumor burden was observed between Lcn2 KO mice and wild-type littermate controls after sleeping beauty transposon/transposase and hydrodynamic tail vein injection delivery of active YAP1 and β-catenin, although Lcn2 KO mice with HB lacked any serum Lcn2 elevation, demonstrating that transformed hepatocytes are the source of serum Lcn2. More blastemal areas and inflammation were observed within HB in Lcn2 KO compared with wild-type tumors. In conclusion, Lcn2 expressed in hepatocytes appears to be dispensable for the pathogenesis of HB. However, transformed hepatocytes secrete serum Lcn2, making Lcn2 a valuable biomarker for HB.