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Systematic Review Article

Detection of Circulating Cell-free DNA to Diagnose Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Chinese Population: A Systematic Review and Metaanalysis


Amir Hossein Aalami*, Farnoosh Aalami, Ehsan Kargar Aliabadi, Amir Amirabadi and Amirhossein Sahebkar*   Pages 1 - 15 ( 15 )


Background: Cell-free circulating DNA has been known for many years, but this knowledge has not been beneficial for diagnosis. In this meta-analysis, we examine the diagnostic role of circulating cell-free DNA in HCC patients to find a reliable biomarker for the early detection of HCC.

Materials and Methods: We performed a systematic literature search using Science Direct, Web of Science, PubMed/Medline, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Embase, up to April 1st, 2022. Meta-Disc V.1.4 and Comprehensive Meta-Analysis V.3.3 software calculated the pooled specificity, sensitivity, area under the curve (AUC), diagnostic odds ratio (DOR), positive likelihood ratio (PLR), negative likelihood ratio (NLR) Q*index, and summary receiver-- operating characteristic (SROC) for the role of cfDNA as a biomarker for HCC patients. Moreover, the subgroup analyses have been performed based on sample types (serum/plasma) and detection methods (MS-PCR/methylation).

Results: A total of 7 articles (9 studies) included 697 participants (485 cases and 212 controls). The overall pooled sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio (PLR), negative likelihood ratio (NLR), diagnostic odds ratio (DOR), and area under the curve (AUC) were 0.706 (95% CI: 0.671 - 0.739), 0.905 (95% CI: 0.865 - 0.937), 6.66 (95% CI: 4.36 - 10.18), 0.287 (95% CI: 0.185 - 0.445), 28.40 (95% CI: 13.01 - 62.0), and 0.93, respectively. We conducted a subgroup analysis of diagnostic value, which showed that the plasma sample had a better diagnostic value compared to the serum.

Conclusion: This meta-analysis showed that cfDNA could be a fair biomarker for diagnosing HCC patients.


Circulating cell-free DNA, hepatocellular carcinoma, biomarker, liquid biopsy, molecular diagnostics, cfDNA.


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