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PCSK9 Levels Are Raised in Chronic HCV Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Authors
  • Fasolato, Silvano1
  • Pigozzo, Sabrina1
  • Pontisso, Patrizia1
  • Angeli, Paolo1
  • Ruscica, Massimiliano
  • Savarino, Edoardo
  • De Martin, Sara2
  • Lupo, Maria Giovanna2
  • Ferri, Nicola2
  • 1 (P.A.)
  • 2 (M.G.L.)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Clinical Medicine
Publisher
MDPI AG
Publication Date
Sep 28, 2020
Volume
9
Issue
10
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/jcm9103134
PMID: 32998342
PMCID: PMC7600304
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Background: Since emerging evidence suggests a protective role of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) on hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the correlation between PCSK9 and HCV infection in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients. Methods: In this retrospective study, PCSK9 levels were evaluated by ELISA, in plasma samples from control ( n = 24) and 178 patients diagnosed for HCC, cirrhosis, or chronic hepatitis, either positive or negative for HCV. Results: HCV positive patients (HCV+) presented with higher PCSK9 levels compared to HCV negative individuals (HCV-), 325.2 ± 117.7 ng/mL and 256.7 ± 139.5 ng/mL, respectively. This difference was maintained in the presence of HCC, although this disease significantly reduced PCSK9 levels. By univariate analysis, a positive correlation between PCSK9 and HCV viral titer was found, being G2 genotype the most-potent inducer of PCSK9 among other genotypes. This induction was not associated with changes in total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides (TG). A negative correlation was also found between PCSK9 levels and liver impairment, assessed by Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD). Finally, a multivariate correlation analysis corrected for age, TC, LDL-C, and sex, demonstrated, in the whole cohort, a positive association between PCSK9 and HCV and a negative with HCC. Conclusions: taken together, our study reveals that HCV raised PCSK9 in both the presence and absence of HCC.

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