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Improving the Detection of Hepatocellular Carcinoma using serum AFP expression in combination with GPC3 and micro-RNA miR-122 expression

Li, Jian, Qiyu, Sun, Wang, Tiezheng, Jin, Boxun, Li, Ning
Open life sciences 2019 v.14 no.1 pp. 53-61
Hepatitis C virus, biomarkers, blood serum, early diagnosis, hepatoma, liver cirrhosis, microRNA, patients
Early diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) greatly improves the survival and prognosisfor patients. In this study weevaluate the diagnostic promise of combining serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) expression with two potential biomarkers, serum glypican-3 (GPC3) and expression of the micro-RNA miR-122 for hepatitis C virus (HCV) related early-stage HCC. For this study serum samples from 47 patients with early-stage HCC, 54 chronic HCV (CH) carriers, 35 patients with liver cirrhosis (LC) and 54 health controls (HC) were collected. In addition to routine laboratory investigations, serum AFP, GPC3 and miR-122 were measured in all patients and healthy controls. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to present sensitivity and specificity for the biomarkers. The three markers were all significantly elevated in the serum samples from HCC patients. ROC curves showed the three markers had similar diagnostic capacities for distinguishing early-stage HCC from HCV-positive controls (LC + CH). In order to distinguish early-stage HCC from high-risk LC patients, the expression of miR-122 was superior to GPC3. Combination of the three markers as a panel showed a better diagnostic performance than any of the single markers (P <0.05). Overall, this study revealed that serum expression of GPC3 and miR-122 may be useful biomarkers to combine with serum AFP expression for the diagnosis of HCV related early-stage HCC.