We investigated soluble human leukocyte antigen-G (sHLA-G) expression according to the phases of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). A total of 267 sera from anti-HBs positive healthy individuals (n = 50), chronic HBV carriers (n = 45), as well as patients with active hepatitis B (n = 46), liver cirrhosis (LC, n = 46) and early stage HCC (n = 80) were collected and assayed for sHLA-G. Relationships between sHLA-G levels and clinicopathologic parameters including HCC stages, differentiation grades, and levels of aminotransferases, HBV DNA and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) were assessed. Concentrations of sHLA-G were higher in the active hepatitis B and HCC groups (median sHLA-G 53.7 and 178.8 U/ml, respectively) in comparison to other groups (P < 0.05), and there were no significant differences among sHLA-G levels of the anti-HBs positive, chronic HBV carrier and LC groups. Serum sHLA-G concentrations were not shown to be associated with clinicopathologic indices including the levels of aminotransferases, AFP, anti-HBs titer, HBV DNA, as well as HCC stages, numbers of tumor nodules, pathologic grades and presence of vessel invasion. The receiver-operating characteristic area under the curve (AUC) value of sHLA-G for differentiating HCC from LC was 0.98, which was greater than that of AFP (0.78) (P < 0.0001), and sensitivity and specificity of sHLA-G were, respectively, 90.0% and 95.7% for HCC when applying a cutoff level of 97.3 U/ml. Serum sHLA-G levels could be used as a diagnostic marker for HCC. Although sHLA-G levels did not reflect the severity of HBV infections and HCC, they were related with phases of the disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy