Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or liver cancer is an aggressive disease and one of the fastest growing cancers in incidence in the United States. The 5 year survival rate drops dramatically from a poor 26% in early stages to a mere 2% in later stages of the disease. Currently, the only available biomarker for early detection is serum alpha-fetoprotein which can identify only 40-60% of cases. We aim to improve the poor disease prognosis by developing a screening test capable of detecting liver cancer in its earlier stages. Since cancer is a disease of the genome and epigenome, if we can detect these underlying genetic mutations and epigenetic modifications in the periphery, we should be able to effectively detect cancer early. We have previously shown that urine contains fragmented, cell-free, cancer related DNA, both mutated and methylated, derived from the circulation of cancer patients. We have also demonstrated that the concentration of tumor-derived DNA in plasma and in urine is similar in patients with tumors. Hence, we propose the use of a panel of HCC-associated genetic and epigenetic methylation DNA biomarkers to develop a sensitive, noninvasive urine screening test for HCC. In order to detect these markers in the circulation derived urine DNA, we developed short amplicon (∼50 bp) PCR based assays targeting HCC-associated mutations in TP53, CTNNB1, hTERT genes and HCC associated methylation in GSTP1, RASSF1A and CDKN2A. Urine DNA isolated from hepatitis, cirrhosis and HCC patients were tested in each of the assays and analyzed. Panel performance parameters such as sensitivity, specificity and area under the receiver operating curve were calculated for individual markers and then as a group in order to evaluate their ability to distinguish HCC patients from hepatitis and cirrhosis subjects. The potential of this urine test in the early detection of HCC is discussed.

Citation Format: Sitong Chen, Surbhi Jain, Selena Lin, Ying-Hsiu Su, Wei Song. Development of a urine DNA based marker panel for early detection of liver cancer. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2014 Apr 5-9; San Diego, CA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2014;74(19 Suppl):Abstract nr 888. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2014-888