Interest of variations in microRNA-152 and -122 in a series of hepatocellular carcinomas related to hepatitis C virus infection

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common outcome of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and constitutes the main burden of this disease. The molecular mechanisms underlying the development of HCC are multiple and might involve certain microRNA (miR). As discordant results have been reported concerning the detection of expression of miR-152 and miR-122 in HCC, our aim was to measure the levels of both miRs in serum and liver samples.


We analyzed miR-152 and miR-122 expression by reverse transcription–quantitative polymerase chain reaction in a serum cohort from 14 HCV-infected patients who developed HCC, 20 HCV+ patients without HCC, and 19 control patients. We also studied miR-152 and miR-122 in an independent tissue cohort from 11 normal livers, and from paired HCC and non-tumor adjacent livers of 11 HCV-infected patients and 12 non-infected patients.


In serum samples, higher levels of miR-122 were found in non-HCC HCV+ compared to HCC HCV+ and control groups, whereas miR-152 was detectable in a lower range in HCC HCV+ compared to non-HCC HCV+ and control groups. We found higher signals for miR-122 and miR-152 in non-tumor liver and HCC tissues compared to control tissues. Hepatocellular carcinoma etiology had no detectable influence on miR-122 expression, whereas miR-152 was increased in HCV+ tissue samples.


Detection of low values of circulating miR-152 is a potentially interesting marker of hepatocarcinogenesis in HCV+ patients, in contrast to miR-122, which varies according to hepatocyte damage.

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