Research Papers:

Screening differential circular RNA expression profiles reveals hsa_circ_0004018 is associated with hepatocellular carcinoma

Liyun Fu, Ting Yao, Qingqing Chen, Xiaoyan Mo, Yaoren Hu and Junming Guo _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:58405-58416. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16881

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Liyun Fu1, Ting Yao2, Qingqing Chen2, Xiaoyan Mo2, Yaoren Hu1 and Junming Guo2

1Department of Hepatology, Ningbo No. 2 Hospital and The Affiliated Hospital, Medical School of Ningbo University, Ningbo 315010, China

2Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Zhejiang Key Laboratory of Pathophysiology, Medical School of Ningbo University, Ningbo 315211, China

Correspondence to:

Junming Guo, email: [email protected]

Yaoren Hu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: hsa_circ_0004018, circular RNA, hepatocellular carcinom, microRNA, biomarker

Received: February 08, 2017    Accepted: March 14, 2017    Published: April 06, 2017


Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have been emerged as an indispensable part of endogenous RNA network. However, the expression significance of circRNAs in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is rarely revealed. The aim of this study was to determine the circRNA expression profile in HCC, and to investigate their clinical significances and relevant mechanisms for cancer progression. The global circRNA expression profile in HCC was measured by circRNA microarray. Levels of one representative circRNAs, hsa_circ_0004018, were confirmed by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The expression levels of hsa_circ_0004018 in HCC were significantly lower compared with para-tumorous tissue (P<0.001). Our data further showed that lower expression of hsa_circ_0004018 was correlated with serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) level, tumor diameters, differentiation, Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage and Tumor-node-metastasis stage. More importantly, we detected liver tissues from chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and HCC patients; and found that hsa_circ_0004018 harbored HCC-stage-specific expression features in diverse chronic liver diseases (P<0.001). The area under receiver operating characteristic curve was up to 0.848 (95% CI=0.803–0.894, P<0.001). The sensitivity and specificity were 0.716 and 0.815, respectively. Finally, hsa_circ_0004018 might be involved in cancer-related pathways via interactions with miRNAs.

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