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Plasma HSP90α Levels Used for Detection of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 14 Jan 2020
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Image: The Roche cobas electro-chemiluminescence immunoassay kit for alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) (Photo courtesy of Toliopoulos Diagnostics).
Image: The Roche cobas electro-chemiluminescence immunoassay kit for alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) (Photo courtesy of Toliopoulos Diagnostics).
Liver cancer is composed mostly of primary liver cancers and secondary liver cancers. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), as the major type of primary liver cancer, is the fifth most common tumor worldwide and the third leading cause of cancer mortality, responsible for 745,500 cancer deaths annually.

HCC screening is based on measurement of serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) as well as imaging technologies and histology. Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) is an evolutionarily highly conserved intracellular molecular chaperone that is usually induced in response to cellular stress and therefore HSP90 is a potential biomarker for tumor diagnosis and prognosis.

Scientists at the Guangxi Medical University (Nanning, China) enrolled from January 1, 2018 to February 28, 2019, a total of 801 liver disease patients in the Hepatobiliary Surgery Department of the Affiliated Tumor Hospital of Guangxi Medical University. The subjects included were 659 HCC patients, 114 secondary hepatic carcinoma (SHC) patients and 28 patients with hepatic hemangioma (HH).

The levels of plasma HSP90α were measured by using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit for HSP90α protein (Yantai Protgen Biotechnology Development Co. Ltd, Yantai, China). The optical density was measured by using a spectrophotometer at 450 nm for the detection wavelength with 620 nm as the reference wavelength. The levels of serum AFP were measured using Cobas electro-chemiluminescence immunoassay kits (Roche Diagnostics, Mannheim, Germany).

The medical team reported that the levels of plasma HSP90α in HCC patients were significantly higher (144.08 ± 4.98 ng/mL) than in healthy donors (46.81 ± 1.11 ng/mL) and in patients with hepatic hemangioma (61.56 ± 8.20 ng/mL) or SHC (111.96 ± 10.08 ng/mL). The levels were associated with age, Barcelona Clinical Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage, levels of AFP, tumor size, tumor number, portal vein tumor thrombus (PVTT), extrahepatic metastasis (EHM), and Child-Pugh stage in the HCC cohort. In addition, the levels of plasma HSP90α showed an upward trend along with the progression of the BCLC stage. The combination of HSP90α and AFP significantly improved the diagnostic efficiency for HCC patients.

The authors concluded that the levels of plasma HSP90α in healthy donors, benign liver tumor cohort, SHC cohort and HCC cohort showed a statistically significant increasing trend in this study. The combination of HSP90α and AFP significantly improved the diagnostic efficiency for HCC patients and these simple tests can be useful in both rural and cosmopolitan settings. The study was published on January 2, 2020 in the journal BMC Cancer.

Related Links:
Guangxi Medical University
Yantai Protgen Biotechnology Development Co. Ltd
Roche Diagnostics

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