Serum long non-coding ribonucleic acids urothelial carcinoma-associated 1 and highly upregulated in liver cancer in hepatocellular carcinoma in Egyptians

  • Mona Hassan Fathelbab Assistant lecturer at Faculty of Medicine Alexanria University
  • Gihan M. Sharara
  • Soad M. Eltabakh
  • Hala E. Rashad
  • Ahmed E. Zeid
Keywords: lncRNAs, UCA1, HULC, Hepatocellular carcinoma, diagnosis, prognosis


Background: Combination of serum alpha-fetoprotein(AFP) and ultrasound abdomen are the strategy used for screening of HCC nodules in cirrhotic patients, but AFP has a low sensitivity and ultrasound is operator dependent . Long non-coding ribonucleic acids (lncRNAs) may act as “oncogenes” or “tumor suppressors” for cancers. Among lncRNAs, urothelial carcinoma-associated (UCA1) and highly upregulated in liver cancer (HULC) have a relationship with malignancies. This study aims at assessing serum expression of UCA1 and HULC in HCC patients.

Methods: Serum samples were collected from, forty cirrhotic patients with HCC classified into , twenty patients with early stages of HCC (stage A and B) and twenty patients with late stages( stage C and D) according to Barcelona-Clinic Liver Cancer staging system. In addition to twenty patients with liver cirrhosis without HCC and twenty age and sex matched healthy subjects. Total ribonucleic acids was extracted and following reverse transcription, relative expression of UCA1 and HULC were assessed by quantitative real time PCR. And their variation in expression between the studied groups was calculated using relative quantification method (2ΔΔCt  ).                  

Results: The relative expressions of UCA1 and HULC was significantly higher in patients with early stages of HCC than cirrhotic patients. The receiver operating characteristic curve demonstrated that relative expressions of both UCA1 and HULC can highly discriminate between early stages of HCC and cirrhotic group. And there was a significant positive correlation between their relative expressions and HCC stags.   

Conclusion: Relative expressions of serum UCA1 and HULC can significantly discriminate between early stages of  HCC and  cirrhosis, and they also have a positive correlation  with HCC stages.