Quantitative proteome analysis of plasma microparticles for the characterization of HCV-induced hepatic cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma

Proteomics Clin Appl. 2017 Dec;11(11-12). doi: 10.1002/prca.201700014. Epub 2017 Jul 10.


Purpose: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common primary malignant liver tumor and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Cirrhosis induced by hepatitis-C virus (HCV) infection is the most critical risk factor for HCC. However, the mechanism of HCV-induced carcinogenesis is not fully understood. Plasma microparticles (PMP) contribute to numerous physiological and pathological processes and contain proteins whose composition correlates to the respective pathophysiological conditions.

Experimental design: We analyzed PMP from 22 HCV-induced cirrhosis patients, 16 HCV-positive HCC patients with underlying cirrhosis and 18 healthy controls. PMP were isolated using ultracentrifugation and analyzed via label-free LC-MS/MS.

Results: We identified 840 protein groups and quantified 507 proteins. 159 proteins were found differentially abundant between the three experimental groups. PMP in both disease entities displayed remarkable differences in the proteome composition compared to healthy controls. Conversely, the proteome difference between both diseases was minimal. GO analysis revealed that PMP isolated from both diseases were significantly enriched in proteins involved in complement activation, while endopeptidase activity was downregulated exclusively in HCC patients.

Conclusion: This study reports for the first time a quantitative proteome analysis for PMP from patients with HCV-induced cirrhosis and HCC. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD005777.

Keywords: Hepatic cirrhosis; Hepatitis-C virus; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Label-free proteomics; Plasma microparticles.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism*
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Risk Factors


  • Proteome