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posted on 14.06.2021, 05:44 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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