- Hepatoblastoma (HB) is the most common pediatric liver cancer. Although long-term survival of HB is generally favorable, it depends on clinical stage, tumor histology, and a variety of biochemical and molecular features. HB appears almost exclusively before the age of 3 years, is represented by seven histological subtypes, and is usually associated with highly heterogeneous somatic mutations in the catenin β1 (CTNNB1) gene, which encodes β-catenin, a Wnt ligand–responsive transcriptional co-factor.
- Hepatoblastoma (HB) is associated with aberrant activation of the β-catenin and Hippo/YAP signaling pathways. Overexpression of mutant β-catenin and YAP in mice induces HBs that express high levels of c-Myc (Myc). In light of recent observations that Myc is unnecessary for long-term hepatocyte proliferation, we have now examined its role in HB pathogenesis using the above model. Although Myc was found to be dispensable for in vivo HB initiation, it was necessary to sustain rapid tumor growth. Gene expression profiling identified key molecular differences between myc+/+ (WT) and myc−/− (KO) hepatocytes and HBs that explain these behaviors.