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Circulating tumor cells as a potential biomarker for postoperative clinical outcome in HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma

Authors Ye X, Li G, Han C, Han Q, Shang L, Su H, Han B, Gong Y, Lu GD, Peng T

Received 27 May 2018

Accepted for publication 6 August 2018

Published 15 November 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 5639—5647


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Raphael Catane

Xinping Ye,1,* Guanghui Li,1,* Chuangye Han,1 Quanfa Han,1 Liming Shang,1 Hao Su,1 Bowen Han,1 Yizhen Gong,1 Guodong Lu,2 Tao Peng1

1Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi Province, China; 2Department of Toxicology, School of Public Health, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi Province, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: This study aimed to determine if the number of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and changes in their numbers affected tumor recurrence and metastasis after surgical resection in patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Methods: The primary endpoints were overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). A total of 42 patients with HCC were selected from the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical College from 2014 to 2017. CTCs were counted 1 day prior to and 30 days after surgical excision of HCC using the CanPatrol™ system.
Results: Numbers of CTCs (> 2 CTCs and > 5 CTCs per 5 ml peripheral blood) were significantly associated with Edmondson stage in HBV-related HCC prior to surgery (P = 0.004 and 0.014, respectively). However there were no significant associations between other tested clinicopathological factors and CTC counts. Postoperative CTC counts (> 2 and > 5) and pre/postoperative change in CTC counts were significantly associated with PFS (P = 0.02, 0.009, and 0.001, respectively), but not with OS. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that pre/postoperative changes in the CTC count were a better predictor of performance than absolute count. The postoperative CTC count was also significantly associated with positive TP53 expression (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: These results demonstrate that postoperative CTC counts (> 2 and > 5) and changes in CTC counts may be independent prognostic indicators for PFS in patients with HBV-related HCC, with the change in number of CTCs showing better predictive performance.

circulating tumor cell, hepatocellular carcinoma, progression-free survival, overall survival

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