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PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e52393. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052393. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

MicroRNA-29a-5p is a novel predictor for early recurrence of hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma after surgical resection.

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  • 1Liver Cancer Institute and Zhongshan Hospital, Institutes of Biomedical Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.


It is still difficult to predict the probability of tumor recurrence after resection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study, we set out to identify specific microRNA (miRNA) in microdissected hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related HCC tissue from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples which might be used in predicting early recurrence after HCC resection. Taqman low density arrays were used to detect the 667 miRNA profiles in both the microdissected tumorous and adjacent non-tumorous liver tissues from 20 HCC patients (discovery set) including 10 patients with early tumor recurrence and 10 without early tumor recurrence and to identify the differentially expressed miRNAs related to HCC recurrence. Then quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) was used to verify the findings in 106 patients (training set), and to develop a predictive assay. The identified miRNAs were further validated in an independent cohort of 112 patients (validation set). Thirty seven miRNAs were identified from 20 HCC patients and validated in 106 HCC patients using qRT-PCR. A significant association was found between miR-29a-5p level in HCC tissues and early tumor recurrence (P = 0.0002). This association was further confirmed in the independent validation set of 112 patients (P = 0.0154). MiR-29a-5p level was significantly associated with both time to tumor recurrence (TTR) (P = 0.0015) and overall survival (OS) (P = 0.0079) in validation set. In the multivariate analyses, miR-29a-5p was identified as an independent factor for TTR, particularly for those patients with early stage of HCC. The sensitivity and specificity of miR-29a-5p for the prediction of early HCC recurrence of BCLC 0/A stage HCC were 74.2% and 68.2%, respectively. These suggest that miR-29a-5p might be a useful marker for the prediction of early tumor recurrence after HCC resection, especially in BCLC 0/A stage HCCs.

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