Aim: Early hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence after curative resection is a known poor prognostic factor. We aimed to identify microRNAs associated with recurrence after curative HCC resection. Methods: To identify risk factors for early recurrence and metastasis, 694 patients who underwent primary curative HCC resection were analyzed. We evaluated microRNA expression in cancerous and non-cancerous tissues by microarray and quantitative PCR analyses using 16 HCC samples. We defined patients who had a recurrence within 1 year of resection as the early recurrence (ER) group, patients who had a recurrence within 1–5 years as the late recurrence (LR) group, and patients who did not recur during the 5-year observation period as the no recurrence (NR) group. We examined the relationship between microRNA expression and clinical features. Results: Multivariate analysis revealed that α-fetoprotein >31 ng/mL, tumor size >4 cm, and intrahepatic metastasis (IM) were significant factors. Afterwards, microarray analyses revealed that microRNA (miR)-125b-5p and miR-148a-3p were significantly downregulated in recurrent cases. The ratio of miR-125b-5p expression in cancerous versus non-cancerous tissue (miR-125b ratio), but not miR-148a-3p, was significantly lower in the ER group. Early recurrence was associated with reduced overall survival compared with the LR and NR group. The miR-125b ratio was significantly lower in the ER group than in the LR and NR groups. Multivariate analysis showed that a low miR-125b ratio and IM were independently associated with ER and disease-free survival. Conclusions: Assessing tissue miR-125b-5p expression and IM is useful for stratifying patients at risk of early HCC recurrence after curative resection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases