Platelet extracts induce growth, migration and invasion in human hepatocellular carcinoma in vitro

Brian I. Carr, Aldo Cavallini, Rosalba D'Alessandro, Maria G. Refolo, Catia Lippolis, Antonio Mazzocca, Caterina Messa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Thrombocytopenia has been reported to be associated with small size HCCs, and thrombocytosis to be associated with large size HCCs. The aim was to examine the effects of platelets in relation to HCC cell growth.Methods: The effects of time-expired pooled normal human platelets were examined on human HCC cell line growth and invasion.Results: Blood platelet numbers increased with increasing HCC tumor size and portal vein invasion. Platelet extracts enhanced cell growth in 4 human HCC cell lines, as well as cell migration, medium AFP levels and decreased apoptosis. Cell invasion was significantly enhanced, using a Matrigel-coated trans-well membrane and3D (Real-Time Imaging) invasion assay. Western blots showed that platelets caused enhanced phospho-ERK and phospho-JNK signaling and anti-apoptotic effect with increase of Bcl-xL (anti-apoptotic marker) and decrease of Bid (pro-apoptotic marker) levels. Their growth effects were blocked by a JNK inhibitor.Conclusions: Platelets stimulated growth and invasion of several HCC cell lines in vitro, suggesting that platelets or platelet growth factors could be a potential pharmacological target.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 27 2014


  • AFP
  • Growth
  • HCC
  • Invasion
  • Migration
  • Platelets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics
  • Medicine(all)


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