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J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2006 Aug;132(8):515-20. Epub 2006 May 19.

Serum CYFRA 21-1 level reflects hepatocellular carcinoma metastasis: study in nude mice model and clinical patients.

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Department of Oncology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University and Cancer Center of Wuhan University, No. 169 Donghu Road, Wuhan, 430071, China.


Our previous proteomics study on human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell strains revealed that cytokeratin 19 (CK19) was expressed in cells with high metastasis potential; we further studied serum CK19 fragment CYFRA 21-1 level in HCC patients and nude mice model of HCC metastasis. HCC cell line HCCLM3 was injected subcutaneously into 30 nude mice which were then randomized into 6 groups of 5 mice each. The murine serum CYFRA 21-1 and pulmonary metastases were determined 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 weeks after injection. Serum CYFRA 21-1 levels of 101 normal controls and 108 HCC patients were also determined. In nude mice model, CYFRA 21-1 level increased significantly when pulmonary metastases occurred. Among 108 HCC patients, 24 (22.2%) had increased serum CYFRA 21-1 level. The presence of portal vein tumor emboli was significantly higher in CYFRA 21-1 increased cases (33.3%, 6/24) than in CYFRA 21-1 normal cases (6.0%, 5/84) (x2=7.403, P < 0.01). In addition, the percentage of TNM stage III/IV tumor was significantly higher in CYFRA 21-1 increased patients (54.2%, 13/24) than in CYFRA 21-1 normal cases (21.4%, 18/84) (x2=9.776, P < 0.005). These results suggest that CK19 may play an important role in HCC metastasis.

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