Alcohol consumption and chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection are two well-established risk factors for Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); however, there remains a limited understanding of the molecular pathway behind the pathogenesis and progression behind HCC, and how alcohol promotes carcinogenesis in the context of HBV+ HCC. Using next-generation sequencing data from 130 HCC patients and 50 normal liver tissues, we identified a panel of microRNAs that are significantly dysregulated by alcohol consumption in HBV+ patients. In particular, two microRNAs, miR-944 and miR-223-3p, showed remarkable correlation with clinical indication and genomic alterations. We confirmed the dysregulation of these two microRNAs in liver cell lines treated by alcohol and acetaldehyde, and showed that manipulation of miR-223-3p and miR-944 expression induces significant changes in cellular proliferation, sensitivity to doxorubicin, and the expression of both direct-binding and downstream mRNA targets. Together, the results of this study suggest that alcohol consumption in HBV+ HCCs regulates microRNAs that likely play previously uncharacterized roles in the alcohol-associated carcinogenesis of HCC, and future studies of these microRNAs may be valuable for furthering the understanding and treatment of alcohol and HBV-associated HCC.
Zheng, H., Zou, A. E., Saad, M. A., Wang, X. Q., Kwok, J. G., Korrapati, A., et al.(2017). Alcohol-dysregulated microRNAs in hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma. PloS ONE, 12(5), e0178547.
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