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Background: Metadherin (MTDH) has been known as an essential oncogene in carcinogenesis and tumor spread in several malignancies, via its effect on pathways of signal transduction.
Objective: We aimed to evaluate the role of serum MTDH mRNA expression in the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to compare its expression levels with serum levels of Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP).
Subjects & methods: A total of 150 subjects (90 HCC patients & 60 healthy volunteers) were enrolled in the current study. Serum MTDH mRNA relative expression was analyzed by Real Time PCR technique.
Results: There was a significant statistical increase of serum MTDH mRNA expression in HCC group when compared to controls (P < 0.05). MTDH mRNA expression was significantly associated with clinicopathological data, advanced tumor stage and poor histological differentiation in HCC patients (p < 0.05). There was direct positive correlation between MTDH mRNA expression and serum AFP levels in HCC group (r = 0.445), P value = <0.05. ROC curve was used to verify the accuracy of MTDH mRNA expression and compare it with accuracy of serum AFP in HCC diagnosis; MTDH mRNA expression had higher accuracy (92%), sensitivity (91%) and specificity (93%) than AFP.
Conclusion: MTDH mRNA is up-regulated in serum of HCC patients; MTDH may be considered as noninvasive biomarker for HCC diagnosis and it could replace serum AFP in HCC diagnosis as it had higher accuracy.
Keywords: Biomarker, Expression, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Metadherin, Real Time PCR