Indexed on: 12 Jul '14Published on: 12 Jul '14Published in: Oncology
Mutation of the exon 3 of CTNNB1, the coding gene of β-catenin, is a crucial molecular mechanism leading to aberrant activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, which is highly associated with the carcinogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The prevalence and clinical significance of CTNNB1 mutations in advanced HCC remain unclear.Patients with advanced HCC and available pathologic tissues (either obtained when diagnosed at advanced or early stages) were enrolled in this study. Direct sequencing of exon 3 of CTNNB1 was performed to detect somatic mutations. The associations between CTNNB1 mutations and clinicopathologic features were analyzed.A total of 115 patients were enrolled, among whom 78 (67.8%) had chronic hepatitis B virus infection. Twenty-one (18.3%) patients were found to have CTNNB1 mutations, all of which were missense mutations. The CTNNB1 mutation rates were similar among pathologic tissues obtained at advanced and early stages (17.5 and 20.0%, respectively). Patients aged over 60 years were more likely to have CTNNB1 mutations than patients younger than 60 years (32.6 vs. 8.7%, p = 0.001). The mutations were not associated with survival or other clinicopathologic features.In patients with advanced HCC, CTNNB1 mutations were not prognostically significant. No apparent increase of CTNNB1 mutations occurred during the progression of HCC.