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Circulating microRNA-122a as a diagnostic marker for hepatocellular carcinoma

Authors Luo J, Chen M, Huang H, Yuan T, Zhang M, Zhang K, Deng S

Received 19 February 2013

Accepted for publication 6 April 2013

Published 22 May 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 577—583


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Jie Luo,1 Ming Chen,1 Hengliu Huang,1 Tao Yuan,2 Mingxu Zhang,1 Kejun Zhang,1 Shaoli Deng1

1Clinical Laboratory, 2Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Institute of Surgery Research, Daping Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, People’s Republic of China

Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential value of circulating miRNA-122a and miRNA-221 in the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Methods: Serum samples were obtained from 85 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and 85 age-matched and sex-matched healthy volunteers. miRNAs were isolated from the serum samples, and alfa-fetoprotein levels were determined. Expression of miRNA-122a and miRNA-221 in cases and controls was quantified using U6 sn RNA as the internal control. The diagnostic value of miRNA-122a, miRNA-221, and alfa-fetoprotein was compared by receiver operating characteristic analysis.
Results: The serum miRNA-122a level in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma was significantly reduced in comparison with healthy controls and correlated with known risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma. Circulating miRNA-221 in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma was higher compared with the control group, but the difference was not statistically significant. Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed that the diagnostic power of miRNA-122a was suboptimal compared with serum alfa-fetoprotein. Further, the serum alfa-fetoprotein and miRNA-122a combined classifier resulted in performance similar to that of alfa-fetoprotein alone.
Conclusion: The serum miRNA-122a level correlates with risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma. However, use of miRNA-122a as a diagnostic tool for hepatocellular carcinoma is not superior to alfa-fetoprotein. Further analysis is needed to evaluate the diagnostic power of plasma miRNA-122a for hepatocellular carcinoma.

Keywords: circulating miRNA, miRNA-122a, miRNA-221, hepatocellular carcinoma, alpha-fetoprotein, molecular diagnostics

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