Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 5759–5765 | Cite as

Circulating microRNA-301 as a promising diagnostic biomarker of hepatitis C virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma

  • Moamena S. El-HamoulyEmail author
  • Ayman A. Azzam
  • Samar E. Ghanem
  • Fathia I. EL-Bassal
  • Nashwa Shebl
  • Amira M. F. Shehata
Original Article


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a serious consequence of persistent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and represents one of the most aggressive neoplasms globally. The implication of microRNA-301 (miR-301) in the initiation and progression of different types of cancers has been proved. We aimed to assess circulating microRNA-301 as possible biomarker for the early detection of HCC in patients with chronic HCV infection. miR-301 expression levels were estimated in plasma samples of 42 patients with newly diagnosed HCV-related HCC, 48 chronically HCV infected patients with liver cirrhosis and 40 healthy individuals by reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction technique. In comparison with chronically HCV infected patients and healthy controls, miR-301 expression levels were significantly increased in HCC patients (P < 0.001). miR-301 levels distinguished HCC patients from chronic HCV patients, with area under the receiver–operating characteristic curve of 0.89 (95% CI 0.82–0.96), the sensitivity and the specificity were 78.57% and 89.58% respectively. Moreover, miR-301 levels were significantly linked with tumor size (P = 0.014), serum levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) (P = 0.028) and Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) score (P = 0.003). These results reveal that miR-301 can serve as a promising non-invasive biomarker for diagnosis of HCC in chronically HCV infected patients.


Alpha-fetoproteins Circulating microRNA-301 Hepatitis C Hepatocellular carcinoma Real-time polymerase chain reaction 




Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors confirm that there are no known conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tropical Medicine Department, Faculty of MedicineMenoufia UniversityShebin El-KomEgypt
  2. 2.Clinical Biochemistry and Molecular DiagnosticsNational Liver InstituteShebin El-KomEgypt
  3. 3.Clinical Pathology Department, Faculty of MedicineMenoufia UniversityShebin El-KomEgypt
  4. 4.Hepatology DepartmentNational Liver InstituteShebin El-KomEgypt

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