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Publication Title

Infectious Agents and Cancer


Background: Numerous studies have shown that Schistosoma japonicum infection correlates with an increased risk of liver hepatocellular carcinoma (LIHC). However, data regarding the role of this infection in LIHC oncogenesis are scarce. This study aimed to investigate the potential mechanisms of hepatocarcinogenesis associated with Schistosoma japonicum infection.

Methods: By examining chronic liver disease as a mediator, we identified the genes contributing to Schistosoma japonicum infection and LIHC. We selected 15 key differentially expressed genes (DEGs) using weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) and random survival forest models. Consensus clustering revealed two subgroups with distinct prognoses. Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) and Cox regression identified six prognostic DEGs, forming an Schistosoma japonicum infection-associated signature for strong prognosis prediction. This signature, which is an independent LIHC risk factor, was significantly correlated with clinical variables. Four DEGs, including BMI1, were selected based on their protein expression levels in cancerous and normal tissues. We confirmed BMI1's role in LIHC using Schistosoma japonicum-infected mouse models and molecular experiments.

Results: We identified a series of DEGs that mediate schistosomiasis, the parasitic disease caused by Schistosoma japonicum infection, and hepatocarcinogenesis, and constructed a suitable prognostic model. We analyzed the mechanisms by which these DEGs regulate disease and present the differences in prognosis between the different genotypes. Finally, we verified our findings using molecular biology experiments.

Conclusion: Bioinformatics and molecular biology analyses confirmed a relationship between schistosomiasis and liver hepatocellular cancer. Furthermore, we validated the role of a potential oncoprotein factor that may be associated with infection and carcinogenesis. These findings enhance our understanding of Schistosoma japonicum infection's role in LIHC carcinogenesis.



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Schistosoma japonicum, Chronic liver disease, Liver hepatocellular carcinoma, Prognostic signature