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Tumour Biol. 2014 May;35(5):4247-56. doi: 10.1007/s13277-013-1555-8. Epub 2014 Jan 4.

A cancer-related protein 14-3-3ζ is a potential tumor-associated antigen in immunodiagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Beijing You'an Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, 100069, China,


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is the conventional biomarker currently used in clinical diagnosis of this malignancy. However, AFP is not reliable for early diagnosis, and especially the sensitivity and specificity of AFP in HCC diagnosis are not optimal. Early detection of HCC is an important issue because of the very poor prognosis and usually no more than 6 months survival after diagnosis. Therefore, there is a need for the development of more sensitive and specific methods that can supplement AFP in the early detection of this cancer. In this study, autoantibody responses to 14-3-3ζ in HCC were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), western blot, and indirect immunofluorescence assay. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) with tissue array slides was also performed to analyze protein expression of 14-3-3ζ in HCC and control tissues. The prevalence of autoantibodies against 14-3-3ζ was 16.7% (28/168) in HCC, which was significantly higher than that in liver cirrhosis (LC), chronic hepatitis (CH), and normal human sera (NHS) (P < 0.01). The average titer of autoantibodies against 14-3-3ζ in HCC sera was higher compared to that in LC, CH, and NHS (P < 0.01). In the further study, anti-14-3-3ζ antibodies have been detected in the sera from several HCC patients with serial bleeding samples. A stronger reactive band with 14-3-3ζ in western blot can be seen in sera at 9 months before the clinical diagnosis of HCC. Our preliminary data indicate that anti-14-3-3ζ autoantibodies may be potential biomarkers for early-stage HCC screening and diagnosis.

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