A major risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is hepatitis B virus (HBV), whose pathogenesis is exacerbated by the acquisition of mutations that accelerate carcinogenesis. We examined, with mass spectrometry, the temporality of an HBV 1762T/1764A double mutation in plasma and tumors. Initial studies found that 52 of 70 (74.3%) tumors from patients residing in Qidong, People's Republic of China, contained this HBV mutation. Paired plasma samples were available for six of the tumor specimens; four tumors had the HBV 1762T/1764A mutation, whereas three of the paired plasma samples were also positive. The potential predictive value of this biomarker was explored by using stored plasma samples from a study of 120 residents of Qidong who had been monitored for aflatoxin exposure and HBV infection. After 10 years of passive follow-up, there were six cases of major liver disease including HCC (four cases), hepatitis (one case), and cirrhosis (one case). All six cases had detectable levels of the HBV 1762 T/1764A mutation up to 8 years before diagnosis. Finally, 15 liver cancers were selected from a prospective cohort of 1,638 high-risk individuals in Qidong on the basis of available plasma samples spanning the years before and after diagnosis. The HBV 1762T/1764A mutation was detected in 8 of the 15 cases (53.3%) before cancer. The persistence of detection of this mutation was statistically significant (P = 0.022, two-tailed). We therefore found that a prediagnosis biomarker of specific HBV mutations can be measured in plasma and suggest this marker for use as an intermediate endpoint in prevention and intervention trials.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Mar 9 2004|
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