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Journal of Transplantation
Volume 2013, Article ID 878297, 14 pages
Research Article

Molecular Signatures of Recurrent Hepatocellular Carcinoma Secondary to Hepatitis C Virus following Liver Transplantation

1Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195-6410, USA
2Department of Pharmaceutics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98121-1023, USA
3Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA 98104-2499, USA
4Department of Microbiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7735, USA

Received 3 July 2013; Accepted 25 September 2013

Academic Editor: P. Burra

Copyright © 2013 Trina Das 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.


Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) induced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a primary indication for liver transplantation (LT). In western countries, the estimated rate of HCC recurrence following LT is between 15% and 20% and is a major cause of mortality. Currently, there is no standard method to treat patients who are at high risk for HCC recurrence. The aim of this study was to investigate the molecular signatures underlying HCC recurrence that may lead to future studies on gene regulation contributing to new therapeutic options. Two groups of patients were selected, one including patients with HCV who developed HCC recurrence (HCC-R) ≤3 years from LT and the second group including patients with HCV who did not have recurrent HCC (HCC-NR). Microarray analysis containing more than 29,000 known genes was performed on formalin-fixed-paraffin-embedded (FFPE) liver tissue from explanted livers. Gene expression profiling revealed 194 differentially regulated genes between the two groups. These genes belonged to cellular networks including cell cycle G1/S checkpoint regulators, RAN signaling, chronic myeloid leukemia signaling, molecular mechanisms of cancer, FXR/RXR activation and hepatic cholestasis. A subset of molecular signatures associated with HCC recurrence was found. The expression levels of these genes were validated by quantitative PCR analysis.