Plasma MicroRNA Panel ID'd for Diagnosing Hepatocellular Cancer

Panel differentiates HCC from chronic hepatitis B, cirrhosis, and from healthy samples

TUESDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can be diagnosed with high accuracy using a microRNA panel, according to a study published online Nov. 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Jian Zhou, M.D., Ph.D., from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and colleagues sought to identify plasma microRNAs for diagnosing HBV-related HCC. A total of 934 participants, including healthy individuals, and those with chronic hepatitis B, cirrhosis, and HBV-related HCC, were selected between August 2008 and June 2010. Initially, 723 microRNAs in 137 plasma samples were screened using a microarray to diagnose HCC. The expression of selected microRNAs was subsequently evaluated using a quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay. A training cohort comprising 407 individuals was used to create a logistic regression model, which was then validated using an independent cohort of 390 individuals. The diagnostic accuracy was assessed using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC).

The investigators found that a microRNA panel, including miR-122, miR-192, miR-21, miR-223, miR-26a, miR-27a, and miR-801, provided high accuracy for diagnosis of HCC, with an AUC of 0.864 and 0.888 for the training and validation data sets, respectively. The diagnostic performance persisted irrespective of disease status. The microRNA panel was able to differentiate between HCC and samples from healthy individuals (AUC, 0.941), chronic hepatitis B (AUC, 0.842), and cirrhosis (AUC, 0.884).

"We found a plasma microRNA panel that has considerable clinical value in diagnosing early-stage HCC," the authors write.

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