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Gastroenterology and Hepatology - Oncology - Surgery

Insufficient Radiofrequency Ablation Promotes Angiogenesis of Residual Hepatocellular Carcinoma via HIF-1a/VEGFA
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Author: Jian Kong et al.

by Jian Kong, Jinge Kong, Bing Pan, Shan Ke, Shuying Dong, Xiuli Li, Aimin Zhou, Lemin Zheng, Wen-bing Sun


The mechanism of rapid growth of the residual tumor after radiofrequency (RF) ablation is poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the effect of hyperthermia on HepG2 cells and generated a subline with enhanced viability and dys-regulated angiogenesis in vivo, which was used as a model to further determine the molecular mechanism of the rapid growth of residual HCC after RF ablation.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Heat treatment was used to establish sublines of HepG2 cells. A subline (HepG2 k) with a relatively higher viability and significant heat tolerance was selected. The cellular protein levels of VEGFA, HIF-1a and p-Akt, VEGFA mRNA and secreted VEGFA were measured, and all of these were up-regulated in this subline compared to parental HepG2 cells. HIF-1a inhibitor YC-1 and VEGFA siRNA inhibited the high viability of the subline. The conditioned media from the subline exerted stronger pro-angiogenic effects. Bevacizumab, VEGFA siRNA and YC-1 inhibited proangiogenic effects of the conditioned media of HepG2 k cells and abolished the difference between parental HepG2 cells and HepG2 k cells. For in vivo studies, a nude mouse model was used, and the efficacy of bavacizumab was determined. HepG2 k tumor had stronger pro-angiogenic effects than parental HepG2 tumor. Bevacizumab could inhibit the tumor growth and angiogenesis, and also eliminate the difference in tumor growth and angiogenesis between parental HepG2 tumor and HepG2 k tumor in vivo.


The angiogenesis induced by HIF1a/VEGFA produced by altered cells after hyperthermia treatment may play an important role in the rapid growth of residual HCC after RF ablation. Bevacizumab may be a good candidate drug for preventing and treating the process.