Fermentable fiber-induced hepatocellular carcinoma in mice recapitulates gene signatures found in human liver cancer Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Chandrashekar, Dar S; Golonka, Rachel M; Yeoh, Beng S; Gonzalez, David J; Heikenwälder, Mathias; Gerwirtz, Andrew T; Varambally, Sooryanarayana; Vijay-Kumar, Matam


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most malignant form of primary liver cancer, is the fourth most prevalent cause of cancer mortality globally. It was recently discovered that the dietary fermentable fiber, inulin, can reprogram the murine liver to favor HCC development in a gut microbiota-dependent manner. Determining the molecular pathways that are either over expressed or repressed during inulin-induced HCC would provide a platform of potential therapeutic targets. In the present study, we have combined analysis of the novel inulin-induced HCC murine model and human HCC samples to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in hepatocarcinogenesis. Hepatic transcriptome profiling revealed that there were 674 DEGs in HCC mice compared to mice safeguarded from HCC. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis uncovered enrichment in ECM-receptor interaction, steroid hormone biosynthesis, PPAR signaling pathway, focal adhesion and protein digestion and absorption during inulin-induced HCC. Tandem mass tag based quantitative, multiplexed proteomic analysis delineated 57 differentially expressed proteins, where the over-expressed proteins were associated with cell adhesion molecules, valine, leucine and isoleucine degradation and ECM-receptor interaction. After obtaining the human orthologs of the mouse genes, we did a comparison analysis to level 3 RNA-seq data found in the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database, corresponding to human HCC (n = 361) and healthy liver (n = 50) samples. Out of the 549 up-regulated and 68 down-regulated human orthologs identified, 142 genes (137 significantly over-expressed and 5 significantly under-expressed) were associated with human HCC. Using univariate survival analysis, we found 27 over-expressed genes involved in cell-cell adhesion and cell division that were associated with poor HCC patient survival. Overall, the genetic and proteomics signatures highlight potential underlying mechanisms in inulin-induced HCC and support that this murine HCC model is human relevant.

publication date

  • 2020

published in

start page

  • e0234726


  • 15