Investigation of long noncoding RNAs expression profile as potential serum biomarkers in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

Published:October 23, 2015DOI:
      There is an increasing interest in using long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) as biomarkers in cancer. Predictive biomarkers in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have great benefit in the choice of therapeutic modality for HCC. The aim of this study is to assess lncRNA–urothelial carcinoma associated-1 (lncRNA-UCA1) and WD repeat containing, antisense to TP53 (WRAP53) expression as novel noninvasive biomarkers for diagnosis of HCC in sera of HCC patients compared with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients and healthy volunteers and to analyze their relationship with respect to the clinicopathologic features. We retrieved HCC characteristic lncRNAs, lncRNA-UCA1 and lncRNA-WRAP53, based on the microarray signature profiling (released by LncRNADisease database). Quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay (RT-qPCR) was then used to evaluate the expression of selected lncRNAs in the serum of 160 participants. Furthermore, in 20 of 82 HCC cases involved in the study, we examined the expression of lncRNA-UCA1 and lncRNA-WRAP53 in 20 HCC tissues and adjacent nontumor tissues and analyzed its correlation with the serum level of these lncRNAs. The prognostic significance of the investigated parameters in HCC patients was explored. We found that lncRNA-UCA1 and lncRNA-WRAP53 were significantly higher in sera of HCC than those with chronic HCV infection or healthy volunteers. Our data suggested that the increased expression of UCA1 and WRAP53 was associated with advanced clinical parameters in HCC. Of note, tissue levels of the chosen lncRNAs strongly correlate with their sera level. The combination of both lncRNAs with serum alpha fetoprotein resulted in improved sensitivity to 100%. The median follow-up period was 21.5 months. LncRNA-WRAP53 was significant independent prognostic markers in relapse-free survival. LncRNA-UCA1 and lncRNA-WRAP53 upregulation may serve as novel serum biomarkers for HCC diagnosis and prognosis.


      ALT (Alanine transaminase), AST (Aspartate transaminase), AFP (Alpha fetoprotein), CHC (Chronic HCV infection), HCC (Hepatocellular Carcinoma), lncRNA-UCA1 (Long noncoding RNA–Urothelial Carcinoma Associated-1), WRAP53 (WD repeat containing, antisense to TP53), qPCR (Quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay)
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