Research Papers:

Phospholipid profiles and hepatocellular carcinoma risk and prognosis in cirrhotic patients

Alexia Karen Cotte, Vanessa Cottet, Virginie Aires, Thomas Mouillot, Maud Rizk, Sandrine Vinault, Christine Binquet, Jean-Paul Pais de Barros, Patrick Hillon and Dominique Delmas _

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Oncotarget. 2019; 10:2161-2172. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26738

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Alexia Karen Cotte1,2, Vanessa Cottet1,3,6, Virginie Aires1,2, Thomas Mouillot4, Maud Rizk1,3, Sandrine Vinault1,6, Christine Binquet1,3,4, Jean-Paul Pais de Barros1,5, Patrick Hillon1,3,4 and Dominique Delmas1,2

1University of Bourgogne, Franche-Comté, Dijon, France

2INSERM U1231 “Lipids, Nutrition, Cancer”, Research Team Cancer and Adaptive Immune Response (CADIR), Dijon, France

3INSERM U1231 “Lipids, Nutrition, Cancer”, Research Team Epidemiology and Clinical Research in Digestive Oncology (EPICAD), Dijon, France

4Department of Hepatogastroenterology, University Hospital, Dijon, France

5Lipidomic Platform, Dijon, France

6Inserm, Clinical Investigation Center, Dijon, France

Correspondence to:

Dominique Delmas, email: [email protected]

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma; cirrhosis; phospholipids; biomarker; case–control study

Received: November 03, 2018    Accepted: February 09, 2019    Published: March 15, 2019


Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer worldwide. Phospholipids are now well-recognised players in tumour progression. Their metabolic tissue alterations can be associated with plasmatic modifications. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of the plasma phospholipid profile as a risk and prognostic biomarker in HCC.

Methods: Ninety cirrhotic patients with (cases) or without HCC (controls) were studied after matching for inclusion centre, age, gender, virus infection, cirrhosis duration and Child-Pugh grade. High-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem-mass spectrometry was used to quantify the main species of seven categories of phospholipids in plasma.

Results: Elevated concentrations of phosphatidylcholine (PC) 16:0/16:1 (p=0.0180), PC 16:0/16:0 (p=0.0327), PC 16:0/18:1 (p=0.0264) and sphingomyelin (SM) 18:2/24:1 (p=0.0379) and low concentrations of lysophosphatidylcholine 20:4 (0.0093) and plasmalogen-phosphatidylethanolamine (pPE) 16:0/20:4 (p=0.0463), pPE 18:0/20:4 (p=0.0077), pPE 18:0/20:5 (p=0.0163), pPE 18:0/20:3 (p=0.0463) discriminated HCC patients from cirrhotic controls. Two ceramide species were associated with increased HCC risk of death while lysophospholipids, a polyunsaturated phosphatidylinositol, some PC and SM species were associated with low risk of death in HCC patients in 1 and/or 3 years.

Conclusion: This study identified phospholipid profiles related to HCC risk in liver cirrhotic patients and showed for the first time the potential of some phospholipids in predicting HCC patient mortality.

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