Diagnostic Performance of microRNA-122 and microRNA-224 in Hepatitis C Virus-Induced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC)

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Tropical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Egypt.

2 Department of Hepatology, National Liver Institute, Menoufia University, Egypt.

3 Department of Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Egypt.

4 Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Egypt.


Background and objectives: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a potential health problem in Egypt because of
the high prevalence of HCV infection. Using alpha-fetoprotein for diagnosis is unsatisfactory especially in early stages.
Many studies showed that microRNAs (miRNA) expression may be associated with the development and progression
of various types of cancer including HCC and it may serve as biomarkers for diagnosis. This study examined two
miRNAs which are miRNA-122 and miRNA-224 if it could serve as biomarkers for diagnosis of HCC. Methods: This
study included 20 patients with HCV-induced HCC and 20 patients with HCV-induced liver cirrhosis for comparison.
As well as 20 healthy volunteers as controls. All participants were subjected to history taking, clinical examination, and
determination of serum alpha-fetoprotein. Quantification of plasma miRNA-122 and miRNA-224 was done by real-time
quantitative PCR. Results: Our results showed that levels of miRNA-122 were significantly lower in HCC group compared
to the cirrhosis group and controls, while levels of miRNA-224 were significantly higher. The levels of both miRNAs
have a correlation with tumor size. Moreover, the diagnostic accuracy of miRNA-122 (sensitivity 95%, specificity 81%,
p-value <0.001) and of miRNA-224 (sensitivity 85%, specificity 79%, p-value <0.001) in discriminating patients with
HCC from patients with liver cirrhosis were higher than that of alpha-fetoprotein (sensitivity 70%, specificity 70%,
p-value <0.05). In addition, combining any one of these miRNAs with alpha-fetoprotein will increase the diagnostic
accuracy compared to using each marker alone. Conclusion: miRNA-122 and miRNA-224 could serve as biomarkers
for the diagnosis of HCC.


Main Subjects