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Double-positive expression of high-mobility group box 1 and vascular endothelial growth factor C indicates a poorer prognosis in gastric cancer patients

Weiling He1, Bing Tang1, Dongjie Yang1, Yuhuang Li2, Wu Song1, Tuckyun Cheang1, Xinlin Chen3, Yin Li1, Lianzhou Chen4, Wenhua Zhan1, Wen Li4* and Yulong He1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic Surgery, The first Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510080, China

2 Institute of Clinical and Translational Research, Department of Histology and Embryology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510080, China

3 Department of Biomedical Statistics, College of Fundamental Medical Science, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510006, China

4 Department of Surgical Laboratory, The first Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510080, China

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World Journal of Surgical Oncology 2013, 11:161  doi:10.1186/1477-7819-11-161

Published: 18 July 2013



Although many studies have indicated that high-mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1) is associated with oncogenesis and a worse prognosis, the prognostic value of HMGB1 in gastric cancer (GC) remains unclear. In the present work, we aimed to evaluate the role of HMGB1 in GC and examined whether aberrant expression of both HMGB1 and vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) increased the malignant potential of GC.


A total of 166 GC patients and 32 normal subjects were enrolled. HMGB1 and VEGF-C expression was detected by tissue microarrays (TMAs) and immunohistochemical staining. The correlation between HMGB1 and VEGF-C expression and their relationships with clinicopathological GC variables were examined. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed using the Cox proportional hazard model to predict the factors related to the patientsā€˜ overall survival rates.


HMGB1 and VEGF-C expression were observed in 81 (48.80%) and 88 (53.01%) tumors, respectively, significantly higher than the rates among the corresponding controls. In addition, HMGB1 and VEGF-C expression were positively correlated (R2 = 0.972). HMGB1 expression was also closely associated with tumor size, pT stage, nodal status, metastasis status, TNM stage, and poor prognosis. Multivariate survival analysis indicated that patients with HMGB1 and VEGF-C coexpression had the worst prognoses and survival rates (hazard ratio, 2.78; log rank P<0.001).


HMGB1 is commonly expressed in GC. Combined evaluation of HMGB1 and VEGF-C may serve as a valuable independent prognostic factor for GC patients.

High-mobility group box 1 protein; VEGF-C; Gastric cancer; Tissue microarray; Prognosis