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Hepatogastroenterology. 2008 Jul-Aug;55(85):1390-3.

Significance of the serum level of soluble E-cadherin in patients with HCC.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 1-7-1 Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8501, Japan.



E-cadherin (E-cad) is a type of adhesion molecule, and recent studies have demonstrated a correlation between its expression in tumor lesions and the recurrence of HCC. Serum levels of soluble E-cad are significantly elevated in patients with several types of cancer. The authors evaluated the significance of the serum level of soluble E-cad as a predictor of early recurrences (intrahepatic or extrahepatic metastasis) of HCC after a curative resection.


The concentrations of soluble E-cad in the serum of 25 HCC patients before surgery and 12 healthy subjects were measured using a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The hepatic expression of E-cad was examined by immunohistochemical staining.


The median serum soluble E-cad levels were significantly elevated in HCC patients before surgery in comparison to those in healthy subjects (10,759 ng/mL vs. 5,798 ng/mL, p < 0.05). The patients in the high serum soluble E-cad group experienced a higher incidence of early recurrence (p < 0.05). The levels of expression of E-cad in HCC lesions were not related to the serum levels of soluble E-cadherin.


The study demonstrated that serum soluble E-cad levels were elevated in patients with HCC, and high serum soluble E-cadherin (> or = 8,000 ng/ml) was associated with early recurrence or extrahepatic metastasis. Serum soluble E-cad may therefore be a potential prognostic marker for HCC.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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