Hepatol Commun. 2019 Dec 19;4(2):284-297. doi: 10.1002/hep4.1451. eCollection 2020 Feb.
Highly Sensitive Circulating MicroRNA Panel for Accurate Detection of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Patients With Liver Disease.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. The high mortality rate in HCC is largely due to the difficulty of early detection. In this study, to improve patient outcomes, serum samples from 345 patients with HCC, 46 patients with chronic hepatitis (CH), 93 patients with liver cirrhosis (LC), and 1,033 healthy individuals were analyzed with microRNA (miRNA) microarrays. We investigated the diagnostic potential of circulating miRNAs in serum and developed a detection model of HCC, including early stage. A diagnostic model was constructed based on the expression levels of a combination of miRNAs in a discovery set. We selected 52 miRNAs that had altered expressions according to disease progression status, established the diagnostic model with a combination of eight miRNAs in the discovery set, and tested the model in a validation set. The diagnostic values for discriminating cancer from HCC at-risk control samples were as follows: area under the curve, 0.99; sensitivity, 97.7%; specificity, 94.7%. With this model, 98% of stage I HCC cases were detected; these results were much better than those observed from conventional methods.
Conclusion: Circulating miRNAs could serve as biomarkers for the accurate detection of HCC. Because the diagnostic accuracy was maintained even in stage I, this may represent an accurate detection method even for early stage HCC.