Electrochemical Detection and Distribution Analysis of β‑Catenin for the Evaluation of Invasion and Metastasis in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Pro-metastatic cell signaling controls the switch to distant metastasis and the final cancer death. In hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), this death switch is turned on by the multiprotein interactions of β-catenin with many transcription factors, so a method to assay the bioactivity of β-catenin to participate in these pro-metastatic protein/protein interactions has been proposed in this work. This method employs cost-effective peptide-based protein targeting ligands, while the electrochemical catalytic cross-linking in this method also “finalize” the noncovalent molecular recognition, so that the robustness can be improved to enable detection of relatively more complex biosamples. In studying clinical samples with the proposed method, the cellular distribution and overall expression of β-catenin show a parallel with the pathological grade of the sample, particularly, nuclear translocation. The pro-metastatic activation of β-catenin can also be observed as evidently correlated with higher-grade cases, suggesting the active role of β-catenin in promoting metastasis. According to these results, the proposed method may have the prospective use as a prognostic tool for evaluating the potential of invasion and metastasis in cancer.