Background: The human major histocompatibility complex class I polypeptide-related sequence B (MICB) is a protein that modulates the NK and T cell activation through the NKG2D receptor and is related to several diseases including cancer.
Methods: The study investigated the prognostic role of soluble MICB (sMICB) protein in the progression of HBV-related liver diseases and to HBV-related HCC treatment. The sMICB serum levels were measured in 266 chronic HBV-infected Vietnamese patients and in healthy controls, and correlated with clinical and laboratory parameters and with therapeutic interventions for HBV-related HCC.
Results: Significant differences in both clinical and laboratory parameters were observed among the patient groups with different stages of hepatitis. The platelet counts were significantly decreased with disease progression (P < 0.001). The sMICB serum levels were significantly increased in HBV patients compared to healthy controls (P < 0.0001). Among the patients with different stages of hepatitis, asymptomatic individuals (ASYM) revealed higher sMICB serum levels while liver cirrhosis (LC) patients revealed lower sMICB serum levels (P < 0.0001) compared to other patient groups. Notably, the sMICB serum levels were decreased in treated HCC patient group compared to not-treated HCC patient group (P = 0.05). Additionally, the sMICB levels were significantly correlated with platelet counts in ASYM and HCC patients (r = -0.37, P = 0.009; and r = 0.22, P = 0.025, respectively).
Conclusions: Our results demonstrate a potential role of sMICB serum levels and platelet counts during immune response to the HBV infection, liver disease progression and response to the HCC treatment.