HealthDay News — ‘Liquid biopsy’ technology holds promise for diagnosing, monitoring, and predicting prognosis in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), according to a study published online October 9 in Nature Materials

Rui-hua Xu, from State Key Laboratory of Oncology in China, and colleagues compared HCC tissue and normal blood leukocytes from circulating tumor (ctDNA) samples from a cohort of 1,098 HCC patients and 835 normal controls in order to identify an HCC-specific methylation marker panel. 

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The researchers found that methylation profiles of HCC tumor DNA and matched plasma ctDNA were highly correlated. They constructed a prediction model that showed high diagnostic specificity and sensitivity and was highly correlated with tumor burden, treatment response, and stage. They also constructed a prognostic prediction model that effectively predicted prognosis and survival.

“Together, these findings demonstrate in a large clinical cohort the utility of ctDNA methylation markers in the diagnosis, surveillance, and prognosis of HCC,” conclude the authors.

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