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Novel Proteomic Biomarker Panel for Prediction of Aggressive Metastatic Hepatocellular Carcinoma Relapse in Surgically Resectable Patients

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posted on 07.11.2014, 00:00 by Gek San Tan, Kiat Hon Lim, Hwee Tong Tan, May Lee Khoo, Sze Huey Tan, Han Chong Toh, Maxey Ching Ming Chung
The natural course of early HCC is unknown, and its progression to intermediate and advanced HCC can be diverse. Some early stage HCC patients enjoy prolonged disease-free survival, whereas others suffer aggressive relapse to stage IV metastatic cancer within a year. Comparative proteomics of HCC tumor tissues was carried out using 2D-DIGE and MALDI-TOF/TOF MS to identify proteins that can distinguish these two groups of stage I HCC patients. Twelve out of 148 differentially regulated protein spots were found to differ by approximately 2-fold for the relapse versus nonrelapse patient tissues. Four proteins, namely, heat shock 70 kDa protein 1, argininosuccinate synthase, isoform 2 of UTP-glucose-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase, and transketolase, were shown to have the potential to differentiate metastatic relapse (MR) from nonrelapse (NR) HCC patients after validation by western blotting and immunohistochemical assays. Subsequent TMA analysis revealed a three marker panel of HSP70, ASS1, and UGP2 to be statistically significant in stratifying the two groups of HCC patients. This combination panel achieved high levels of sensitivity and specificity, which has potential for clinical use in identifying HCC tumors prone to MR. This stratification will allow development of clinical management, including close follow-up and possibly treatment options, in the near future.