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The Research Group of Professor Bin Wu at The Third Affiliated Hospital Identifies a New Biomarker in Saliva for Detecting Early Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Last updated :2018-08-17

Source: The Third Affiliated Hospital
Written by: The Third Affiliated Hospital
Edited by: Wang Dongmei

The research group of professor Bin Wu at The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University finds a new biomarker for early hepatocellular carcinoma, long non-coding (lnc) RNA PCDH9-13:1, which means that early hepatocellular carcinoma could be detected with human saliva.

The study indicates that when hepatocellular carcinoma develops in human bodies, the cancer cells secret lnc-RNA PCDH9-13:1 into the circulation. Lnc-PCDH9-13:1 in the circulation passes through the salivary glands and releases into the saliva finally. Thus, lnc-RNA PCDH9-13:1 can be significantly upregulated in saliva of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

Hepatocellular carcinoma has high morbidity and mortality. Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a common serum biomarker for hepatocellular carcinoma clinically. The guideline of European Association for Cancer recommends AFP as the only biomarker for hepatocellular carcinoma. However, due to its low sensitivity and specificity, American Association for Cancer Research dose not recommends AFP as a biomarker for hepatocellular carcinoma. To date, the guideline of our country still recommends it for the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma. But over 40% of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma showing AFP-negative are hard to receive early diagnosis. In this regard, numerous patients miss correct early diagnosis when they receive screening by AFP. Thus far, few early hepatocellular carcinoma have been found due to the low sensitivity and specificity of serum AFP, and lack of appropriate biomarkers and kits for screening hepatocellular carcinoma in a large population. Especially, few biomarkers are available to detect early hepatocellular carcinoma in community. Hence, lots of patiens in community with subclinical hepatocellular carcinoma can not be found early. To this end, it is urgently needed to find new biomarkers with better sensitivity and specificity than AFP to detect early liver cancer in patients with chronic liver diseases.

By the support of National Natural Science Foundationof China (U1501224), the Science and Technology Developmental Special Foundation of Guangdong Province (2017B020226003), and through years of hard exploration and deep research, the group of Prof. Bin Wu identifies a new salivary biomarker released by hepatocellular carcinoma when the cancer develops with continuously improved methods. By the continuously technical creations, early hepatocellular carcinoma can be detected in the saliva of patients without blood sampling, and with non-invasion and high efficiency, and with over 80% of sensitivity and 98% of specificity. Its diagnostic performance is greatly better than serum AFP. Besides, it can be an early warning , and a early diagnostic tool for hepatocellular carcinoma, and monitor the efficacy and recurrence after the hepatectomy. Furthermore, it is more appropriate to screen hepatocellular carcinoma in a large population of community. Relevant results have been published as an article of highlight in EBioMedicine suppoted by Cell press and The Lancet (EBioMedicine, 2018,33:57-6; doi:org/10.1016/j.ebiom. 2018.06.026; Division 1 in medicine, and Division 1 in internal medicine by JCR rankings).

The relevant patents of invention are under evaluation by the National Patent Office. And the clinical trials and the development of reagent kits are under way.