SIRT3, a mitochondrial sirtuin belonging to nicotinamide adenine nucleotide (NAD) dependent deacetylases, is implicated in metabolism, longevity and carcinogenesis. SIRT3 expression and its significance in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain largely unclear. In this study, we demonstrated that SIRT3 expression in HCC tissue was much lower than that in paracarcinoma tissue, at both mRNA and protein levels. The cutoff value for low SIRT3 expression in HCC was defined according to receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis. As disclosed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) results, low SIRT3 expression was present in 67.3% (167/248) of HCC cases. Furthermore, low expression of SIRT3 was significantly correlated to differentiation (P = 0.013), clinical stage (P = 0.005), serum AFP level (P<0.01), tumor multiplicity (P = 0.026) and relapse (P = 0.028). Moreover, Kaplan-Meier analysis indicated that low SIRT3 expression associated with unfavorable overall survival (P<0.01) and recurrence-free survival (P = 0.004). The prognostic impact of SIRT3 was further confirmed by stratified survival analysis. Importantly, multivariate analysis revealed that low SIRT3 expression was an independent poor prognostic marker for overall survival (Hazard Ratio (HR) 0.555, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.344–0.897, P = 0.016). Collectively, we conclude that SIRT3 is decreased in HCC and is a novel unfavorable marker for prognosis of patients with this fatal disease.
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