Expression analysis of HMGB1 in histological samples of malignant pleural mesothelioma

E Rrapaj, E Trisolini, Luca Bertero, M Salvo, R Indellicato, S Andorno, JM Garcia-Manteiga, O Rena, RL Boldorini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is a chromatin structural protein, expressed ubiquitously in the nuclei of mammalian cells. When transported extracellularly, it acts as a tumour suppressor and oncogenic protein. In malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), high serum levels of HMGB1 have been related to a poor prognosis. Conversely, the significance of HMGB1 expression in MPM tissues is still unclear. Methods and results: Biopsy samples from 170 patients with MPM were assessed by immunohistochemistry and reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR) to evaluate HMGB1 protein and gene expression. The expression level of HMGB1 protein was scored using a semiquantitative system that sums the intensity (0–3) and the percentage (from 0 to 4) of positively stained cells in nuclei, cytoplasm and in both. The final score was considered as high ( > 3) or low ( <3) expression. Gene expression levels were calculated using the ΔΔC t method. High expression levels of HMGB1 as total (P = 0.0011) and cytoplasmic score (P = 0.0462) were related to a worse disease-specific survival (DSS) in the entire cohort and in the clinicopathological subgroups. No significant correlation was found between HMGB1 gene expression and DSS. Conclusions: These findings indicate that HMGB1 may be a useful prognostic biomarker in MPM when detected by immunohistochemistry. Conversely, as it is also expressed in normal and reactive mesothelial cells, HMGB1 cannot be considered a diagnostic biomarker in histological samples of mesothelioma. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1050
Number of pages12
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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