Glutamine synthetase as an early marker for hepatocellular carcinoma based on proteomic analysis of resected small hepatocellular carcinomas.

  • Long J
  • Lang Z
  • Wang H
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly malignant tumor with a poor prognosis. Because small HCCs possess most of the characteristics of early HCC, we investigated small HCCs to screen potential biomarkers for early diagnosis.

METHODS: Proteins were extracted from 10 sets of paired tissue samples from HBV-infected small-HCC patients. The extracted proteins were well resolved by two-dimensional electrophoresis. These HCC-associated proteins were then identified by MALDI-TOF/TOF MS following image analysis. Western blotting and immunohistochemistry were used to assess glutamine synthetase (GS) and phenazine biosynthesis-like domain-containing protein (PBLD) expression in liver tissue. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays in 152 serum samples (from 49 healthy donors, 24 patients with liver cirrhosis, and 79 with HCC) were used to further assess the significance of GS clinically.

RESULTS: Fifteen up-regulated and three down-regulated proteins were identified. Western blotting confirmed GS overexpression and decreased PBLD expression in liver tissue. Immunohistochemistry showed that GS was expressed in 70.0% (84/120) of HCCs and 35.8% (43/120) of nontumor tissues; PBLD was expressed in 74.2% (89/120) of nontumor tissues and 40.8% (49/120) of HCCs. The Chi-square test showed significant expression differences between HCCs and adjacent tissues. Consistent with this, serum GS levels in HCC patients were significantly higher than those in liver cirrhosis patients and healthy donors, while the latter two groups were also significantly different. In addition, a diagnostic cutoff value of 2.6 mg/ml was used for GS; it was elevated in 19 (76.0%) of 25 HCC patients with AFP
CONCLUSION: GS and PBLD are abnormally expressed in most HCCs. GS may be a novel serum marker for early HCC, especially for those patients with low AFP levels (

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adult
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular: enzymology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular: pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular: surgery
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Down-Regulation
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Glutamate-Ammonia Ligase
  • Glutamate-Ammonia Ligase: analysis
  • Glutamate-Ammonia Ligase: blood
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis: enzymology
  • Liver Neoplasms
  • Liver Neoplasms: enzymology
  • Liver Neoplasms: pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms: surgery
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteins
  • Proteins: analysis
  • Proteomics
  • Proteomics: methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorpti
  • Tumor Markers, Biological
  • Tumor Markers, Biological: analysis
  • Tumor Markers, Biological: blood
  • Up-Regulation

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  • Jiang Long

  • Zhen-Wei Lang

  • Hua-Guang Wang

  • Tai-Ling Wang

  • Bao-En Wang

  • Si-Qi Liu

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