Recent studies have demonstrated a potential link between circulating cell-free mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and cancers. However, there is no study evaluating the association between circulating mtDNA as a non-invasive marker of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) risk. We conducted a nested case-control study to determine circulating mtDNA content in serum samples from 116 HBV-related HCC cases and 232 frequency-matched cancer-free HBV controls, and evaluate the retrospective association between mtDNA content and HCC risk using logistic regression and their temporal relationship using a mixed effects model. HCC cases had significantly lower circulating mtDNA content than controls (1.06 versus 2.47, P = 1.7 × 10(-5)). Compared to HBV patients with higher mtDNA content, those with lower mtDNA content had a significantly increased risk of HCC with an odds ratio (OR) of 2.19 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.28-3.72, P = 0.004). Quartile analyses revealed a significant dose-dependent effect (Ptrend = 0.001) for this association. In a pilot longitudinal sub-cohort of 14 matched cases-control pairs, we observed a trend of dramatically decreased mtDNA content in cases and slightly decreased mtDNA content in controls, with a significant interaction of case-control status with time (Pinteraction = 0.049). Our findings suggest that circulating mtDNA is a potential novel non-invasive biomarker of HCC risk in HBV patients.
Recommended CitationLi, Ling; Hann, Hie-Won; Wan, Shaogui; Hann, Richard; Wang, Chun; Lai, Yinzhi; Ye, Xishan; Evans, Alison; Myers, PhD, DSW, Ronald E.; Ye, Zhong; Li, Bingshan; Xing, Jinliang; and Yang, Hushan, "Cell-free circulating mitochondrial DNA content and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with chronic HBV infection." (2016). Department of Medicine Faculty Papers. Paper 160.
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