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Decreased expression of the human carbonyl reductase 2 gene HCR2 in hepatocellular carcinoma


Altered gene expression was associated with the induction and maintenance of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To determine the significance of HCR2 in HCC, here we compare the expression levels of HCR2 in carcinoma and in paired non-carcinoma tissues using semiquantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), Western blot analysis, and immunohistochemical staining. The expression ratio (ER) of HCR2 between the tumor and paired tumor-free tissues was calculated for each case and the data was clinicopathologically analyzed. The expression of HCR2 mRNA was found to be significantly decreased in HCC tissues compared with paired normal tissues (P < 0.001). HCR2 was downregulated in 58% (n = 22) of 38 HCC patients. The ER of HCR2 was higher in Edmondson’s grade I/II carcinomas than that in Edmondson’s grade III/IV carcinomas (P < 0.05). Western blot analysis showed HCR2 to be notably depressed in carcinoma tissues in 3 out of 4 HCC patients. Immunohistochemical staining indicated most HCR2 protein accumulated in non-carcinoma cells. These results suggested that altered HCR2 expression might play roles in the carcinogenesis and progression of HCC, and it could be a clinical marker for prognosis, and a molecular target for screening potential anti-HCC drugs.



alpha fetoprotein

β2-MG gene:

β2-microglobulin gene




carbonyl reductase 1


expression ratio


glutathione peroxidase


hepatocellular carcinoma


carbonyl reductase 2




reactive oxygen species


reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction


short chain dehydrogenases/reductases


superoxide dismutase


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Correspondence to Long Yu.

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Liu, S., Ma, L., Huang, W. et al. Decreased expression of the human carbonyl reductase 2 gene HCR2 in hepatocellular carcinoma. Cell. Mol. Biol. Lett. 11, 230–241 (2006).

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Key words

  • HCR2
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Gene expression