Jacobs Journal of Cancer Science and Research

Evaluation of the Diagnostic Role of Human Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (Htert) and Microrna 122a in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients

*Nihal MS El-Assaly
Department Of Oncology And Pathology, Theodor Bilharz Research Institute, Egypt

*Corresponding Author:
Nihal MS El-Assaly
Department Of Oncology And Pathology, Theodor Bilharz Research Institute, Egypt

Published on: 2019-02-18


Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is currently the fifth most common solid tumor worldwide and the third leading cause of cancer related death. miRNAs are 19- to 25-nucleotide-long RNAs, able to bind complementary sequences in 3′-untranslated regions (3′-UTR) of several target mRNAs to induce their degradation or translational repression. miR- 122a, a hepato-specific miRNA, resulted down-regulated in the majority of HCCs and in all examined HCC-derived cell lines. The high frequency of aberrant regulation of these miRNAs in HCC versus non-tumor liver suggests that they might play an important role in hepatocarcinogenesis. Telomeres are specialized DNA–protein structures that cap the ends of linear chromosomes. Telomerase is a large ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex that maintains telomeric DNA. Over 80% of human cancers show an activation of telomerase. Aim of the work: The present study was performed to evaluate the genetic role of miRNA 122a and Telomerase as reliable, non – invasive biochemical markers for early detection of hepato-cellular carcinoma Subjects and Methods: Analysis of the expression level of mature miRNA 122a (miR- 122a) and Telomerase in serum of 30 HCC patients ,30 HCV patients and 20 healthy subjects as control using quantitative reverse-transcription real time PCR (qRT-PCR). Results: Concerning miRNA-122a, the median fold change was statistically significant elevated in HCC patients when compared to both HCV and control groups. There was significant positive correlation between serum miRNA 122a and AST in HCV group. Regarding Telomerase, there was significant elevation in median fold change of serum Telomerase in HCC patients when compared to both HCV and control groups. A significant positive correlation was found between serum telomerase and total & direct bilirubin in HCC group. Conclusion: Current data suggest significant increase in miRNA 122a and Telomerase in serum of HCC patients.


Hepatocellular carcinoma- microRNA 122a-Telomerase


Hepatocellular carcinoma represents the 6th most common cancer worldwide and the 3rd most common cause of cancer death. Infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a leading etiological factor for the developing HCC especially in Egypt. The early screening of HCC depends on imaging techniques including mainly ultrasonography and laboratory tests involving mainly serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP). However, ultrasonography is an operator-dependent procedure with varied diagnostic accuracy; in addition, it fails to detect small tumors. As well, the accuracy of AFP as a diagnostic biomarker for the screening of HCC patients at the early stage is modest with the sensitivity of 60%–80% and with the specificity of 70%–90%. The lack of good diagnostic biomarkers for early-stage HCC accounts for low five-years survival rate from the time of diagnosis. Thus, discovering minimally invasive sensitive and specific biomarkers for the early detection of HCC improving the prognosis of HCC patients is recommended. MicroRNAs are small, non-coding RNA molecules; act as post-transcriptional regulators for expression of genes involved in diverse biological processes that underlie physiological and pathological conditions.