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Gut. 2011 Jul;60(7):967-76. doi: 10.1136/gut.2010.231993. Epub 2011 Feb 17.

EZH2 protein: a promising immunomarker for the detection of hepatocellular carcinomas in liver needle biopsies.

Author information

1
State key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Cancer Center, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

A previous study of ours indicated that enhancer of zeste homologue 2 (EZH2) plays an important role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tumorigenesis. The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential diagnostic utility of EZH2 in HCC.

METHODS:

Immunohistochemistry was performed to examine the expression dynamics of EZH2 in two independent surgical cohorts of HCC and non-malignant liver tissues to develop a diagnostic yield of EZH2, HSP70 and GPC3 for HCC detection. The diagnostic performances of EZH2 and a three-marker panel in HCC were re-evaluated by using an additional biopsy cohort.

RESULTS:

Immunohistochemistry analysis demonstrated that the sensitivity and specificity of EZH2 for HCC detection was 95.8% and 97.8% in the testing cohort. Similar results were confirmed in the validation cohort. For diagnosis of well-differentiated HCCs, the sensitivity and specificity were 68.9% and 91.5% for EZH2, 62.5% and 98.5% for HSP70, 50.0% and 92.1% for GPC3, and 75.0% and 100% for a three-marker panel. In biopsies, positive cases for at least one marker increased from large regenerative nodule and hepatocellular adenoma (0/12) to focal nodular hyperplasia (2/20), dysplastic nodule (7/25), well-differentiated HCC (16/18) and moderately and poorly differentiated HCC (54/54). When at least two positive markers were considered, regardless of their identity, the positive cases were detected in 0/12 large regenerative nodules and hepatocellular adenomas, 0/20 focal nodular hyperplasias, 0/25 dysplastic nodules, 11/18 well-differentiated HCCs, 32/37 moderately differentiated HCCs and 15/17 poorly differentiated HCCs.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings suggest that EZH2 protein, as examined by immunohistochemistry, may serve as a promising diagnostic biomarker of HCCs, and the use of a three-marker panel (EZH2, HSP70 and GPC3) can improve the rate of detection of HCCs in liver biopsy tissues.

PMID:
21330577
DOI:
10.1136/gut.2010.231993
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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