International journal of molecular sciences

Detection of Serum Protein Biomarkers for the Diagnosis and Staging of Hepatoblastoma.

PMID 26053398


The present study aimed to identify serum biomarkers for the detection of hepatoblastoma (HB). Serum samples were collected from 71 HB patients (stage I, n = 19; stage II, n = 19, stage III, n = 19; and stage IV, n = 14) and 23 age- and sex-matched healthy children. Differential expression of serum protein markers were screened using surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF-MS), and the target proteins were isolated and purified using HPLC and identified using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS), SEQUEST, and bioinformatics analysis. Differential protein expression was confirmed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent analysis (ELISA). SELDI-TOF-MS screening identified a differentially expressed protein with an m/z of 9348 Da, which was subsequently identified as Apo A-I; its expression was significantly lower in the HB group as compared to the normal control group (1546.67 ± 757.81 vs. 3359.21 ± 999.36, respectively; p < 0.01). Although the expression level decreased with increasing disease stage, pair-wise comparison revealed significant differences in Apo A-I expression between the normal group and the HB subgroups (p < 0.01). ELISA verified the reduced expression of Apo A-I in the HB group. Taken together, these results suggest that Apo A-I may represent a serum protein biomarker of HB. Further studies will assess the value of using Apo A-I expression for HB diagnosis and staging.