Expression of GRK2 and IGF1R in hepatocellular carcinoma: clinicopathological and prognostic significance

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It has been shown that G-protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) negatively regulates the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) signalling pathway in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinicopathological and prognostic significance of GRK2 and IGF1R in HCC.


Expression of GRK2 and IGF1R was first detected by tissue microarray-based immunohistochemistry in 156 patients with HCC. Staining results, termed the H-score, were then correlated with clinicopathological variables and patient survival. Finally, the prognostic value of GRK2 and IGF1R was validated in the publically available TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) RNA-sequencing database.


The H-score of GRK2 staining (which was significantly lower in tumour than non-tumour tissue) was negatively associated with that of IGF1R with a reverse trend. No clinicopathological significance of the proteins was found except for a relationship between tumoral IGF1R expression and tumour–node–metastasis stage. In univariate analysis, high IGF1R expression predicted poor overall and disease-free survival, whereas GRK2 was not prognostic. In multivariate analysis, IGF1R was significant for overall survival. Furthermore, IGF1R was also of prognostic value in the TCGA database.


Our data indicate that GRK2 and IGF1R show a negative correlation in HCC. IGF1R could be a potential marker of poor prognosis for this malignancy.

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