Background/aims: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) usually develops following chronic liver inflammation caused by hepatitis C or B virus. Through expression profiling in a rare type of HCC, for which the causes are unknown, we sought to find key genes responsible for each step of hepatocarcinogenesis in the absence of viral influence.
Methods: We used 68 non-B, non-C liver tissues (20 HCC, 17 non-tumor, 31 normal liver) for expression profiling with PCR-array carrying 3072 genes known to be expressed in liver tissues. To select the differentially expressed genes, we performed random permutation testing. A weighted voting classification algorithm was used to confirm the reliability of gene selection. We then compared these genes with the results of previous expression profiling studies.
Results: A total of 220 differentially expressed genes were selected by random permutation tests. The classification accuracies using these genes were 91.8, 92.0 and 100.0% by a leave-one-out cross-validation, an additional PCR-array dataset and a Stanford DNA microarray dataset, respectively. By comparing our results with previous reports on virus-infected HCC, four genes (ALB, A2M, ECHS1 and IGFBP3) were commonly selected in some studies.
Conclusions: The 220 differentially expressed genes selected by PCR-array are potentially responsible for hepatocarcinogenesis in the absence of viral influence.