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posted on 14.06.2021, 05:44 authored by Quanxiao Li, Limin Jin, Meng Jin

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common form of liver cancer with limited therapeutic options and low survival rate. The hypoxic microenvironment plays a vital role in progression, metabolism, and prognosis of malignancies. Therefore, this study aims to develop and validate a hypoxia gene signature for risk stratification and prognosis prediction of HCC patients. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) databases were used as a training cohort, and one Gene Expression Omnibus database (GSE14520) was served as an external validation cohort. Our results showed that eight hypoxia-related genes (HRGs) were identified by the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator analysis to develop the hypoxia gene signature and demarcated HCC patients into the high- and low-risk groups. In TCGA, ICGC, and GSE14520 datasets, patients in the high-risk group had worse overall survival outcomes than those in the low-risk group (all log-rank P < 0.001). Besides, the risk score derived from the hypoxia gene signature could serve as an independent prognostic factor for HCC patients in the three independent datasets. Finally, a nomogram including the gene signature and tumor-node-metastasis stage was constructed to serve clinical practice. In the present study, a novel hypoxia signature risk model could reflect individual risk classification and provide therapeutic targets for patients with HCC. The prognostic nomogram may help predict individualized survival.

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