Gene expression in hepatocellular carcinoma: Pilot study of potential transarterial chemoembolization response biomarkers

Ron C. Gaba, John V. Groth, Ahmad Parvinian, Grace Guzman, Leigh C. Casadaban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose To perform a feasibility study to explore the relationship between hepatocellular carcinoma genetics and transarterial chemoembolization treatment response to identify potential biomarkers associated with enhanced treatment efficacy. Materials and Methods In this single-institution study, pretreatment hepatocellular carcinoma biopsy specimens for tumors in 19 patients (14 men, five women; mean age, 59 y) treated with chemoembolization between 2007 and 2013 were analyzed for a panel of 60 chemotherapy-sensitivity, hypoxia, mitosis, and inflammatory genes with the QuantiGene Plex 2.0 mRNA detection assay. Demographic, disease, and procedure data and tumor response outcomes were collected. Quantitative mRNA levels were compared based on radiologic response between tumors exhibiting complete response (CR) versus partial response (PR). Results The study sample included 19 biopsy specimens from tumors (mean size, 3.0 cm; grade 1, n = 6; grade 2, n = 9; grade 3, n = 4) in patients treated with a mean of two conventional chemoembolization sessions. Thirteen and six tumors exhibited CR and PR, respectively, at a mean of 116 days after treatment. Tumors with CR showed a significant increase in (P <.05) or trend toward (P <.1) greater (range, 1.49-3.50 fold) pretreatment chemotherapy-sensitivity and mitosis (ATF4, BAX, CCNE1, KIF11, NFX1, PPP3CA, SNX1, TOP2A, and TOP2B) gene mRNA expression compared with tumors with PR, in addition to lower CXCL10 levels (0.48-fold), and had significantly (P <.05) higher (1.65-fold) baseline VEGFA levels. Conclusions Genetic signatures may allow prechemoembolization stratification of tumor response probability, and gene analysis may therefore offer an opportunity to personalize locoregional therapy by enhancing treatment modality allocation. Further corroboration of identified markers and exploration of their respective predictive capacity thresholds is necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-732
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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