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Serum level of soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and its association with severity of liver disease

Antonio Díaz-Sánchez, Ana Matilla, Óscar Núñez, Diego Rincon, Raquel Lorente, Oreste Lo Iacono, Beatriz Merino, Ana Hernando, Rocio Campos, Gerardo Clemente, Rafael Banares


Background. VCAM-1 (soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1) plays a role in liver angiogenesis. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has important angiogenic activity, so expression of VCAM-1 may be pathogenic. Aim. To assess the association between serum VCAM-1 (sVCAM-1) levels and features of tumour and liver disease in patients with and without HCC, and to study the influence of HCC treatment on sVCAM-1 levels. Material and methods. Concentrations in peripheral (sVCAM-1-P) and hepatic (sVCAM-1-H) veins were analysed using ELISA in 134 consecutive patients with chronic liver disease between May 2004 and February 2006, who underwent a splanchnic haemodynamic study. Of these patients, 58 had HCC. Results. sVCAM-1-P and sVCAM-1-H were well correlated in both groups. No association was found between sVCAM-1-H and tumour features. No differences were observed in sVCAM-1-H between HCC and non-HCC cirrhotic patients. There was a significant linear association between Child-Pugh stage and sVCAM-1-H in HCC-patients (Child-Pugh A [2,485 ± 1,294 ng/mL] vs. Child-Pugh B [3,408 ± 1,338 ng/mL] vs. Child-Pugh C [4,096 ± 862 ng/ mL]; p = 0.007). Seven non-cirrhotic HCC patients had a significantly lower sVCAM-1-H than cirrhotic HCC patients. Treatment of HCC leads to an increase in sVCAM-1-H levels although this was not associated with the necrosis response to treatment. Conclusions. sVCAM-1 levels are more closely associated with the severity of underlying liver disease than with the presence of HCC. sVCAM-1 levels are not associated with tumour features or invasiveness; therefore, sVCAM-1 does not seem to play an important role in the angiogenic processes of HCC.

Key words. Cirrhosis, Hyaluronic Acid, Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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