47 research outputs found

    Long-Term SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Seroprevalence in Blood Donors, Italy

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    We evaluated SARS-CoV-2 antibody response in voluntary blood donors in Italy at different timepoints. Immediately after lockdown easing, 908/25,657 donors (3.5%) had low IgG titers against nucleocapsid. In the next 2 years, titers increased despite few COVID-19 symptoms. On multivariate analysis, allergic rhinitis was associated with reduced risk for symptomatic COVID-19

    Endothelial angiopoietin-2 overexpression in explanted livers identifies subjects at higher risk of recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma after liver transplantation

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    Background Though the precise criteria for accessing LT are consistently being applied, HCC recurrence (HCC-R_LT) still affects more than 15% of the patients. We analyzed the clinical, histopathological, and biological features of patients with HCC to identify the predictive factors associated with cancer recurrence and survival after LT.Methods We retrospectively analyzed 441 patients with HCC who underwent LT in our center. Overall, 70 (15.8%) of them developed HCC-R_LT. We matched them by age at transplant and etiology with 70 non-recurrent patients. A comparable cohort from the Liver Transplant Centre of Bologna served as validation. The clinical and biochemical characteristics and pre-LT criteria (Milan, Metroticket, Metroticket_AFP, and AFP model) were evaluated. Histological analysis and immunohistochemistry for angiopoietin-2 in the tumor and non-tumor tissue of explanted livers were performed. Patients' follow-up was until death, last clinical evaluation, or 31 December 2021. In patients with HCC-R_LT, the date of diagnosis of recurrence and anatomical site has been reported; if a biopsy of recurrence was available, histologic and immunohistochemical analyses were also performed.Results Patients were followed up for a mean period of 62.7 54.7 months (median, 39 months). A higher risk of HCC-R_LT was evident for factors related indirectly (AFP) or directly (endothelial angiopoietin-2, microvascular invasion) to biological HCC aggressiveness. In multivariate analysis, only angiopoietin-2 expression was independently associated with recurrence. Extremely high levels of endothelial angiopoietin-2 expression were also found in hepatic recurrence and all different metastatic locations. In univariate analysis, MELD, Metroticket_AFP Score, Edmondson-Steiner grade, microvascular invasion, and endothelial angiopoietin-2 were significantly related to survival. In multivariate analysis, angiopoietin-2 expression, Metroticket_AFP score, and MELD (in both training and validation cohorts) independently predicted mortality. In time-dependent area under receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, the endothelial angiopoietin-2 expression had the highest specificity and sensitivity for recurrence (AUC 0.922, 95% CI 0.876-0.962, p < 0.0001).Conclusions Endothelial angiopoietin-2 expression is a powerful independent predictor of post-LT tumor recurrence and mortality, highlighting the fundamental role of tumor biology in defining the patients' prognosis after liver transplantation. The great advantage of endothelial angiopoietin-2 is that it is evaluable in HCC biopsy before LT and could drive a patient's priority on the waiting list

    Upregulation of the oestrogen target gene SIX1 is associated with higher growth speed and decreased survival in HCV-positive women with hepatocellular carcinoma

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    The male/female ratio of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is often unbalanced towards the male sex, indicating a sex predisposition for HCC development. A possible explanation may be attributed to different hormonal statuses, including the pro-inflammatory action of androgens in men and the protective effects of oestrogen against excessive inflammation in women. Although several studies have studied gene expression in patients with HCC, very few have attempted to identify features that could be distinctive between male and female patients. The present study aimed to identify distinctive signalling mechanisms between men and women that may be associated with HCC progression. The present study analysed a detailed microarray database that was obtained from the prospective study of 78 patients with HCC to study gene expression according to sex. In addition, the present study aimed to evaluate whether the differentially expressed genes were known oestrogen targets. Moreover, RNAs from the HCC cohort were evaluated for microRNA (miRNA/miR) expression, and a relationship between miRNA and gene expression according to sex was investigated. One gene, sineoculis homeobox homolog 1 (SIX1), which is known to be an oestrogen target gene, was revealed to be highly upregulated in hepatitis virus C (HCV)-positive female patients with HCC but not in HCV-positive male patients. In addition, SIX1 upregulation had a significant relationship with tumour growth speed (assessed as tumour doubling time in two CTs performed 6 weeks apart) and survival (P=0.009 and P=0.042, respectively) in female patients only. Furthermore, SIX1 upregulation was related with miR-421 and miR-9-5p only in male patients; however, in female patients, SIX1 upregulation had a direct relationship with miR-181b, miR-503-5p and miR-125b (miRNAs with potential oncogenic capacity), and an inverse correlation with miR139-5p, miR-26b, let7c-3p and let7c-5p (putatively oncosuppressive microRNAs). These data suggested a distinctive model for liver carcinogenesis in HCV-positive women, with downregulation of protective mechanisms against tumour progression and the activation of potential oncogenes, in relation to the oestrogen target gene SIX1. (IRB10/08_CE_UniRer; ClinicalTrials ID: NCT01657695)

    Material deprivation affects the management and clinical outcome of hepatocellular carcinoma in a high-resource environment

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    Aim: This study investigated how material deprivation in Italy influences the stage of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) at diagnosis and the chance of cure. Methods: 4114 patients from the Italian Liver Cancer database consecutively diagnosed with HCC between January 2008 and December 2018 were analysed about severe material depriva- tion (SMD) rate tertiles of the region of birth and region of managing hospitals, according to the European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions. The main outcomes were HCC diagnosis modalities (during or outside surveillance), treatment adoption and overall survival. Results: In more deprived regions, HCC was more frequently diagnosed during surveillance, while the incidental diagnosis was prevalent in the least deprived. Tumour characteristics did not differ among regions. The proportion of patients undergoing potentially curative treat- ments progressively decreased as the SMD worsened. Consequently, overall survival was bet- ter in less deprived regions. Patients who moved from most deprived to less deprived regions increased their probability of receiving potentially curative treatments by 1.11 times (95% CI 1.03 to 1.19), decreasing their mortality likelihood (hazard ratio 0.78 95% CI 0.67 to 0.90). Conclusions: Socioeconomic status measured through SMD does not seem to influence HCC features at diagnosis but brings a negative effect on the chance of receiving potentially curative treatments. Patient mobility from the most deprived to the less deprived regions increased the access to curative therapies, with the ultimate result of improving survival

    Material deprivation affects the management and clinical outcome of hepatocellular carcinoma in a high-resource environment

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    Aim: This study investigated how material deprivation in Italy influences the stage of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) at diagnosis and the chance of cure. Methods: 4114 patients from the Italian Liver Cancer database consecutively diagnosed with HCC between January 2008 and December 2018 were analysed about severe material depriva- tion (SMD) rate tertiles of the region of birth and region of managing hospitals, according to the European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions. The main outcomes were HCC diagnosis modalities (during or outside surveillance), treatment adoption and overall survival. Results: In more deprived regions, HCC was more frequently diagnosed during surveillance, while the incidental diagnosis was prevalent in the least deprived. Tumour characteristics did not differ among regions. The proportion of patients undergoing potentially curative treat- ments progressively decreased as the SMD worsened. Consequently, overall survival was bet- ter in less deprived regions. Patients who moved from most deprived to less deprived regions increased their probability of receiving potentially curative treatments by 1.11 times (95% CI 1.03 to 1.19), decreasing their mortality likelihood (hazard ratio 0.78 95% CI 0.67 to 0.90). Conclusions: Socioeconomic status measured through SMD does not seem to influence HCC features at diagnosis but brings a negative effect on the chance of receiving potentially curative treatments. Patient mobility from the most deprived to the less deprived regions increased the access to curative therapies, with the ultimate result of improving survival

    Recalibrating survival prediction among patients receiving trans\u2010arterial chemoembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma

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    Background & Aims The Pre-TACE-Predict model was devised to assess prognosis of patients treated with trans-arterial chemoembolization (TACE) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, before entering clinical practice, a model should demonstrate that it performs a useful role. Methods We performed an independent external validation of the Pre-TACE model in a cohort that differs in setting and time period from the one that generated the original model. Data from 826 patients treated with TACE for na√Įve HCC (2008-2018) were used to assess calibration and discrimination of the Pre-TACE-Predict model. Results The four risk-categories identified by the Pre-TACE-Predict model had gradient monotonicity, with median survivals of 52.0, 36.2, 29.9, and 14.1 months respectively. However, predicted survivals systematically underestimated observed survivals (R2: 0.667). A recalibration was adopted maintaining fixed the prognostic index and modifying the baseline survival function. This resulted in an almost perfect calibration (R2: 0.995) in all the four risk categories. Cox regressions showed that aetiology and macrovascular invasion, included in the Pre-TACE-Predict model, had no prognostic impact in the present study population, and that coefficients for tumour size and multiplicity were overestimated. The c-index was similar to that of the m-HAP-III, but higher than those of HAP, m-HAP-II and the six-and-twelve models. Conclusions The recalibration of Pre-TACE-Predict model improved the estimation of survival probabilities of HCC patients treated with TACE. The highest discriminatory ability of the Pre-TACE-model in comparison to other available models, together with risk stratification and recalibration, makes it the best prognostic tool currently available for these patients

    Prognostic significance of hypoxic and metabolic gene profiling in hepatocellular carcinoma

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    AbstractBackground & AimsHepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is characterized by high clinical and biological heterogeneity, depending on the extremely variable combinations of pathways, linked with immune mechanisms, neo‚Äźangiogenesis, ECM remodeling, metabolism and/or hypoxia. We recently identified a 5‚Äźgenes neo‚Äźangiogenic transcriptomic signature (TS), able to discriminate between "aggressive" HCCs (TS‚Äźpositive) from "bland" HCCs (TS negative), the former having extremely poor survival. The aim of this study was to compare gene expression of our HCC cohort with gene expression of well‚Äźcharacterized, published signatures, which have been related with several different functions potentially relevant in carcinogenesis (ie immune control, hypoxia, metabolism, vascular invasion). We also aimed to ascertain the prognostic power for survival.MethodsThe gene expression profile of a cohort of 78 HCC patients prospectively identified were analysed according to a series of published gene expression signatures related with hypoxia, metabolism and immunity and related with the ability of the signature to predict survival.ResultsOnly few genes described in the various immune‚Äźsignatures analyzed were differentially expressed and were related with reduced survival in our prospective cohort, especially in TS‚Äźpositive HCCs. Genes composing hypoxic, metabolic and vascular invasion signatures were instead much more deregulated both in aggressive or bland HCCs. For most of them, the level of expression related with reduced survival. This suggests their possible value as biomarker of tumor aggressiveness.ConclusionAltogether, our data demonstrate that in HCC, and especially in aggressive TS‚Äźpositive HCC, signaling pathways related with hypoxic and metabolic/glycolytic signatures are more relevant in determining a poorer outcome of HCC than immune‚Äźrelated pathways

    Liver Fibrosis Biomarkers Accurately Exclude Advanced Fibrosis and Are Associated with Higher Cardiovascular Risk Scores in Patients with NAFLD or Viral Chronic Liver Disease

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    Liver fibrosis predicts liver-related and cardiovascular outcomes in chronic liver disease patients. We compared the diagnostic performance of various liver fibrosis biomarkers for identifying histological significant/advanced fibrosis. Additionally, the correlations of such liver fibrosis biomarkers with cardiovascular risk (CVR) scores were evaluated. 173 patients with viral hepatitis (157 HCV and 16 HBV) and 107 with a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) were consecutively enrolled. Various liver fibrosis biomarkers: aspartate aminotransferase (AST) to alanine aminotransferase (ALT) ratio (ARR), AST to Platelet Ratio Index (APRI), Fibrosis-4 (FiB-4), Forns index, NAFLD fibrosis score (NFS), BARD (body mass index (BMI), AAR, Diabetes) score, and Hepamet fibrosis score (HFS), were used to identify significant/advanced fibrosis. CVR was assessed by using the SCORE, the Progetto CUORE, or the Framingham risk scoring systems. Liver fibrosis biomarkers performed better in predicting advanced rather than significant liver fibrosis in all patients, regardless of chronic liver disease aetiology. Forns index and HFS performed best in predicting advanced fibrosis in patients with viral chronic liver disease and NAFLD. Lower cut-offs of these liver fibrosis biomarkers had high negative predictive values for advanced fibrosis overall, as well as in patients with NAFLD or viral chronic liver disease. FIB-4, Forns index, NFS, and HFS were positively correlated with SCORE and Framingham risk scores. In conclusion, liver fibrosis biomarkers accurately exclude advanced fibrosis and positively correlate with CVR scores in patients with chronic liver disease
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