Objective: Transcriptional enhanced associate domain (TEAD) family consists of four members TEAD1/2/3/4 that regulate cell growth, stem cell functions and organ development. As the downstream of Hippo signaling pathway, TEAD family is involved in the progression of several cancers. However, the precise biology functions of TEAD family in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have not been reported yet.

Methods: We apply bioinformatics analysis based on databases including UALCAN, Oncomine, GEPIA, Kaplan-Meier plotter, WebGestalt, cBioPortal, TIMER2.0, and in vitro experimental evidence to identify the exact roles of TEAD family in HCC.

Results: The results indicated that TEAD2/4 were significantly upregulated in HCC compared with normal tissues. Downregulated of TEAD2 could promote the death of HCC cells through inducing ferroptosis by iron accumulation and subsequent oxidative damage. According to the Kaplan-Meier plotter database, we found that the high expression of TEAD2 was significantly associated with poor disease-specific survival, overall survival, progression-free survival and relapse-free survival. In aspect of cancer immunity, Tumor Immune Estimation Resource algorithm showed that the expression of TEAD family members was obviously related to multiple of infiltrating immune cells including macrophages, neutrophils, dendritic cells, B cells, CD8+ T cells and CD4+ T cells. Finally, we conducted the functional enrichment analysis including protein-protein interaction network, gene ontology enrichment analysis and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway based on the TEAD family-associated coexpression genes.

Conclusion: The study provided deep insight information of TEAD family in the diagnostic and prognostic evaluation of HCC patients.