Centre for Biotechnology, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, L2S 3A1, Canada.
Hepatocellular Carcinoma is a major healthcare problem, representing the third most common cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. There are 130 million Hepatitis C virus infected patients worldwide who are at a high-risk for developing Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Due to the fact that reliable parameters and/or tools for the early detection of Hepatocellular Carcinoma among high-risk individuals are severely lacking, Hepatocellular Carcinoma patients are always diagnosed at a late stage where surgical solutions or effective treatment are not possible. Urine was collected from 106 Hepatitis C infected patients patients, 32 of whom had already developed Hepatocellular Carcinoma and 74 patients who were diagnosed as Hepatocellular Carcinoma -free at the time of initial sample collection. In addition to these patients, urine samples were also collected from 12 healthy control individuals. Total urinary proteins were isolated from the urine samples and LC-MS/MS was used to identify potential protein HCC biomarker candidates. This was followed by validating relative expression levels of proteins present in urine among all the patients using quantitative real time-PCR. This approach revealed that significant over-expression of three proteins: DJ-1, Chromatin Assembly Factor-1 (CAF-1) and Heat Shock Protein 60 (HSP60), was a characteristic event among Hepatocellular Carcinoma - post Hepatitis C virus infected patients. As a single-based Hepatocellular Carcinoma biomarker, CAF-1 over-expression identified Hepatocellular Carcinoma among Hepatitis C virus infected patients with a specificity of 90%, sensitivity of 66% and with an overall diagnostic accuracy of 78%. Moreover, the CAF-1/HSP60 tandem identified Hepatocellular Carcinoma among Hepatitis C virus infected patients with a specificity of 92%, sensitivity of 61% and with an overall diagnostic accuracy of 77%.
Keywords: Liver Cancer. Hepatitis C Virus. Urine. Proteins. Biomarkers