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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 136106, 5 pages
Research Article

Plasma HULC as a Promising Novel Biomarker for the Detection of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Zhengzhou People’s Hospital, 33 Huanghe Road, Zhengzhou 450003, China
2Henan Red Cross Blood Center, Institute of Transfusion Medicine, 9 Tongle Road, Zhengzhou 450012, China
3Department of Laboratory Medicine, Jinshan Hospital, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai 200540, China

Received 30 January 2013; Revised 16 April 2013; Accepted 2 May 2013

Academic Editor: Vladimir Bajic

Copyright © 2013 Hui Xie et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a leading cause of cancer death in many Asian and African countries. Lack of early diagnosis tools is one of the clinical obstacles for effective treatment of HCC. Thus, enhanced understanding of the molecular changes associated with HCC is urgently needed to develop novel strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of this dismal disease. While aberrant expression of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) has been functionally associated with certain cancers, the expression profiles and biological relevance of lncRNAs in HCC remain unclear. Highly upregulated in liver cancer (HULC) lncRNA has been implicated in the regulation of hepatoma cell proliferation. In this study, we demonstrate that HULC expression is significantly higher in HCC tumors compared to normal liver tissues. Among the tumor tissues, higher HULC expression is positively associated with Edmondson histological grades or with hepatitis B (HBV) positive status. Moreover, HULC lncRNA is detected with higher frequency in the plasma of HCC patients compared to healthy controls. Higher HULC detection rates are observed in the plasma of patients with higher Edmondson grades or with HBV+ status. These findings indicate for the first time that the expression of HULC in plasma can be used as a noninvasive promising novel biomarker for the diagnosis and/or prognosis of HCC.