Research Papers:

Detection of fusion transcripts in the serum samples of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

Yan-Ping Yu, Allan Tsung, Silvia Liu, Michael Nalesnick, David Geller, George Michalopoulos and Jian-Hua Luo

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Oncotarget. 2019; 10:3352-3360. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26918

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Yan-Ping Yu1, Allan Tsung1,2, Silvia Liu1, Michael Nalesnick1, David Geller1, George Michalopoulos1 and Jian-Hua Luo1

1 Department of Pathology and Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

2 Current address: Department of Surgery, Ohio State University School of Medicine, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA

Correspondence to:

Jian-Hua Luo,email: [email protected]

Keywords: serum detection; fusion transcript; cell-free RNA; HCC

Received: February 25, 2019     Accepted: April 04, 2019     Published: May 21, 2019


Hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the most lethal cancers in the United States. Early detection of the disease is crucial for reducing the mortality of this malignancy. Recently, we identified a panel of fusion genes present in several types of human cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma. Among 8 fusion genes, MAN2A1-FER, TRMT11-GRIK2 and CCNH-C5orf30 appear most frequently in hepatocellular carcinoma samples. In this study, we showed that the fusion transcripts of MAN2A1-FER, CCNH-C5orf30 and SLC45A2-AMACR were detected in the serum samples of liver cancer patients as circulating cell-free RNA. The distributions of these gene fusion RNA fragments largely matched those of the primary HCC samples. In contrast, the sera of all healthy individuals free of human malignancies were shown to be negative for these fusion genes. These results suggest that gene fusion RNA is frequently shed from liver cancer cells. The detection of serum cell-free fusion transcripts may provide a new approach to aid in the diagnosis, follow-up or therapy of liver cancers.

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