High expression of IL-4R enhances proliferation and invasion of hepatocellular carcinoma cells



In this study, we aimed to investigate the expression and function of interleukin-4 receptor (IL-4R) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


We collected 40 pairs of human HCC and adjacent normal tissue specimens and examined the expression levels of IL-4R. After IL-4R knockdown in HCC cell lines, cell proliferation and invasion ability were examined. Cell cycle and apoptosis were analyzed by flow cytometry. The activity of multiple signaling pathways was examined by Western blot.


IL-4R was overexpressed in HCC tumors compared with adjacent normal control tissues and was associated with tumor differentiation status. IL-4R knockdown resulted in enhanced apoptosis, impaired proliferation and reduced invasion of HCC cells. Furthermore, IL-4R knockdown abolished IL-4-induced activation of the Janus Kinase 1 (JAK1)/signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 (STAT6) and JUN N-terminal kinase (JNK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) signaling pathways.


IL-4R plays an important role in regulating HCC cell survival and metastasis, and regulates the activity of the JAK1/STAT6 and JNK/ERK1/2 signaling pathways. We therefore suggest that IL-4/IL-4R may be a new therapeutic target for HCC.

Int J Biol Markers 2017; 32(4): e384 - e390




Changkuo Guo, Yuming Ouyang, Jing Cai, Le Xiong, Yajie Chen, Xiaoli Zeng, Anwen Liu

Article History


Financial support: This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81560397).
Conflict of interest: The authors have no conflict of interest related to this article.

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  • Department of Oncology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang - China
  • Department of Oncology, People’s Hospital of Ganzhou City, Ganzhou - China
  • Graduate School of Nanchang University Medical College, Nanchang - China
  • Department of Oncology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai - China
  • Department of Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Gannan Medical University, Ganzhou - China
  • Changkuo Guo and Yuming Ouyang contributed equally to this work.

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