Histological molecular classification of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is clinically important for predicting the prognosis. However, a reliable serum marker has not been established. The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic value of serum Wisteria Floribunda agglutinin-positive sialylated mucin 1 (WFA-sialylated MUC1), which is a novel biliary marker, as a marker of HCC with hepatic progenitor cell (HPC)/biliary features and of prognosis. A total of 144 consecutive patients who underwent complete radiofrequency ablation of primary HCC were enrolled. A serum WFAsialylated MUC1 level of 900 μL/mL was determined as the optimal cutoff value for prediction of immunohistochemical staining for HPC/biliary features [sialylated MUC1 and cytokeratin 19 (CK19)]. Positive staining rate of sialylated MUC1 and CK19 was significantly higher in patients with WFAsialylated MUC1 ≥900 than those with WFA-sialylated MUC1 <900. Furthermore, cumulative incidence of HCC recurrence was significantly higher in patients with WFA-sialylated MUC1 ≥900 and on multivariate analysis, serum WFA-sialylated MUC1 levels was an independent predictor of HCC recurrence. These results revealed that serum WFA-sialylated MUC1 was associated with histological feature of HCC and recurrence after curative therapy and it could be a novel marker of HPC/biliary features in HCC and of prognosis.
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