Role of Leukocyte Cell-Derived Chemotaxin 2 as a Biomarker in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Okabe, Hirohisa; Delgado, Evan; Lee, Jung Min; Yang, Jing; Kinoshita, Hiroki; Hayashi, Hiromitsu; Tsung, Allan; Behari, Jaideep; Beppu, Toru; Baba, Hideo; Monga, Satdarshan P.
June 2014
PLoS ONE;Jun2014, Vol. 9 Issue 6, p1
Academic Journal
We sought to identify a secreted biomarker for β-catenin activation commonly seen in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). By examination of our previously published genearray of hepatocyte-specific β-catenin knockout (KO) livers, we identified secreted factors whose expression may be β-catenin-dependent. We verified expression and secretion of the leading factor in HCC cells transfected with mutated (Hep3BS33Y)-β-catenin. Serum levels of biomarker were next investigated in a mouse model of HCC with β-catenin gene (Ctnnb1) mutations and eventually in HCC patients. Leukocyte cell-derived chemotaxin-2 (LECT2) expression was decreased in KO livers. Hep3BS33Y expressed and secreted more LECT2 in media as compared to Hep3BWT. Mice developing HCC with Ctnnb1 mutations showed significantly higher serum LECT2 levels. However patients with CTNNB1 mutations showed LECT2 levels of 54.28±22.32 ng/mL (Mean ± SD; n = 8) that were insignificantly different from patients with non-neoplastic chronic liver disease (32.8±21.1 ng/mL; n = 15) or healthy volunteers (33.2±7.2 ng/mL; n = 11). Intriguingly, patients without β-catenin mutations showed significantly higher serum LECT2 levels (54.26 ± 22.25 ng/mL; n = 46). While β-catenin activation was evident in a subset of non-mutant β-catenin HCC group with high LECT2 expression, serum LECT2 was unequivocally similar between β-catenin-active and -normal group. Further analysis showed that LECT2 levels greater than 50 ng/ml diagnosed HCC in patients irrespective of β-catenin mutations with specificity of 96.1% and positive predictive value of 97.0%. Thus, LECT2 is regulated by β-catenin in HCC in both mice and men, but serum LECT2 reflects β-catenin activity only in mice. Serum LECT2 could be a potential biomarker of HCC in patients.


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