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Significance of detecting circulating hepatocellular carcinoma cells in peripheral blood of hepatocellular carcinoma patients by nested reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and its clinical value: a retrospective study

Abstract

Aims and background. Circulating hepatocellular carcinoma cells may be detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. We investigated the relationship between circulating hepatocellular carcinoma cells and hepatoma patient survival after different managements and survival periods.
Methods and study design. Peripheral vein blood (5 ml) samples were obtained from 113 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and from 33 control subjects (9 with liver cirrhosis after hepatitis B, 14 with chronic hepatitis B, 10 healthy individuals) between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2013. To detect circulating hepatocellular carcinoma cells in peripheral blood, alpha-fetoprotein messenger RNA was amplified from total RNA extracted from whole blood by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.
Results. Alpha-fetoprotein messenger RNA was detected in 59 blood samples from the hepatocellular carcinoma patients (59/113, 52.2%). In contrast, there were no clinical control subjects whose samples showed detectable alpha-fetoprotein messenger RNA. The presence of alpha-fetoprotein messenger RNA in blood seemed to be correlated with the stage (by TNM classification) of hepatocellular carcinoma, serum alpha-fetoprotein value, and the presence of intrahepatic metastasis, portal vein thrombosis, tumor diameter and/or distant metastasis. In addition, alpha-fetoprotein messenger RNA was detected in the blood of 25 patients showing distant metastasis at extrahepatic organs (100%), in contrast to 32 of 88 cases without metastasis (36.4%). All the patients with hepatocellular carcinoma were followed. Seventeen patients with resection of a T2 stage hepatocellular carcinoma had a survival of 3.2 years after surgical management, 38 cases with resection of a T3 stage hepatocellular carcinoma had a 1.3-year survival, and only 37 cases with T4 stage disease after different treatments except surgery survived for 0.6 years (P >0.01).
Conclusions. The presence of alpha-fetoprotein messenger RNA in peripheral blood may be an indicator of circulating hepatocellular carcinoma cells, which might predict hematogenous spreading metastasis in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and may be a poor prognostic factor for hepatocellular carcinoma patients.

Tumori 2014; 100(5): 536 - 540

Article Type: ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE

DOI:10.1700/1660.18174

Authors

Yang Liu, Yue-ru Wang, Long Wang, Rui-mei Song, Bo Zhou, Zhen-shun Song

Article History

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Authors

  • Liu, Yang [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital, School of Medicine, Tongji University, Shanghai
  • Wang, Yue-ru [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Shanghai First People’s Hospital, School of Medicine, Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China
  • Wang, Long [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital, School of Medicine, Tongji University, Shanghai
  • Song, Rui-mei [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital, School of Medicine, Tongji University, Shanghai
  • Zhou, Bo [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital, School of Medicine, Tongji University, Shanghai
  • Song, Zhen-shun [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital, School of Medicine, Tongji University, Shanghai

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