eISSN: 1896-9151
ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 15
Clinical research

MicroRNA-122a as a non-invasive biomarker for HCV genotype 4-related hepatocellular carcinoma in Egyptian patients

Eman G. E. El-Ahwany
Lobna Mourad
Mona M. K. Zoheiry
Hoda Abu-Taleb
Marwa Hassan
Raafat Atta
Moataz Hassanien
Suher Zada

Arch Med Sci 2019; 15 (6): 1454–1461
Online publish date: 2019/07/17
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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection persists in most infected individuals and can lead to the development of chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have a crucial role in various liver diseases, especially HCC. The expression profiles of circulating microRNAs have been studied aiming at the identification of novel non-invasive biomarkers. This study aims to develop a non-invasive diagnostic tool based on measuring the serum levels of different miRNAs in order to detect HCV-induced HCC at the early stages of the disease.

Material and methods
Five main miRNAs (miRNA-122a, miRNA-125a, miRNA-139, miRNA-145, and miRNA-199a) were selected according to the literature that demonstrated their unique expression pattern during HCC development. Serum samples were collected from 42 cases of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) without cirrhosis, 45 cases of CHC with cirrhosis (LC), 38 cases of HCC with HCV, and 40 healthy individuals serving as a control. The five miRNAs were measured using real-time reverse transcription PCR. The conventional HCC markers α-fetoprotein (AFP) and des-γ-carboxyprothrombin (DCP) were measured with commercial kits.

Serum levels of miRNA-122a, miRNA-125a, miRNA-139, miRNA-145, and miRNA-199a were significantly lower (p < 0.01) in HCC than in CHC and LC groups. As a single marker, miRNA-122a had the highest sensitivity for HCC, followed by miRNA-199a, miRNA-145, miRNA-139, and miRNA-125a.

These findings indicate that measurement of serum levels of miRNA-122a, miRNA-125a, miRNA-139, miRNA-145, and miRNA-199a can differentiate HCC from CHC and LC. Our results suggest that serum miR-122 might serve as a novel and potential noninvasive biomarker for HCV-induced HCC.


chronic hepatitis C, microRNAs, hepatocellular carcinoma, serum biomarkers

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