Development of a multiple-marker RT-PCR assay for detection of micrometastases of hepatocellular carcinoma

A. Miyamoto, Y. Fujiwara, M. Sakon, H. Nagano, Y. Sugita, M. Kondo, H. Eguchi, K. Dono, K. Umeshita, S. Nakamori, M. Monden

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31 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the expression of several candidate gene markers: MAGE-1, MAGE-3, cytokeratin-20 (CK-20), and α-fetoprotein (AFP) in tumor tissue and blood specimens from patients with hepatocellular carcinoma to develop a multiple marker reverse transcriptasepolymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay for detection of micrometastasis in circulation. In 24 tumor specimens, the positivity for MAGE-1, MAGE-3, AFP, and CK-20 genes was 71, 67, 88, and 79% respectively, and all specimens expressed at least one marker. Although AFP and CK-20 transcripts were also detected in corresponding noncancerous liver specimens, none of the 22 corresponding normal specimens or seven normal livers were positive for MAGE-1 or MAGE-3 transcripts. In addition, MAGE-1 and MAGE-3 gene transcripts were not detected in any peripheral blood specimens from 31 normal healthy volunteers. MAGE-1, MAGE-3, and AFP transcripts were detected in 9 (12.7%), 3 (4.8%), and 10 (15.9%) of 71 blood specimens from 11 hepatocellular carcinoma patients, respectively, while 19 specimens (26.8%) were positive for at least one marker. Our results indicate that a multimarker RT-PCR assay with cancer-specific markers such as MAGE-1 and MAGE-3 in combination with a liver-specific AFP marker may be a promising diagnostic tool for monitoring hepatocellular carcinoma patients with better sensitivity and specificity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1376-1382
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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