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Interleukin-25 as a Potential Biomarker in Lung Metastasis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma with HBV History in Chinese Patients: A Single Center, Case-control Study.

Background: Interleukin-25 (IL-25) has been proved to play a role in the pathogenesis and metastasis of Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but the relationship between the level of IL-25 and the metastasis and prognosis of HCC is still not clear. This study aimed to investigate the expression of IL-25 and other potential biochemical indicators among healthy people, HBV-associated HCC patients without lung metastasis and HBV-associated HCC patients with lung metastasis. Methods: From September 2019 to November 2021, 33 HCC patients without lung metastasis, 37 HCC patients with lung metastasis and 29 healthy controls were included in the study. IL-25 and other commonly used biochemical markers were measured to establish predictors of overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) after treatment. Results: The serum level of IL-25 was increased in HCC patients than healthy controls ( p < 0.001) and HCC patients with lung metastasis had higher IL-25 level than HCC patients without metastasis ( p = 0.035). Lung metastasis also indicated higher death rate ( p < 0.001) by chi-square test, higher GGT level ( p = 0.024) and higher AFP level ( p = 0.049) by non-parametric test. Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated that IL-25 was negatively associated with PFS ( p = 0.024). Multivariate Cox-regression analysis indicated IL-25 ( p = 0.030) and GGT ( p = 0.020) to be independent predictors of poorer PFS, while IL-25 showed no significant association with OS. Conclusion: The level of IL-25 was significantly associated with disease progression and lung metastasis of HBV-associated HCC. The high expression of IL-25 predicted high recurrence rate and death probability of HCC patients after treatment. Therefore, IL-25 may be an effective predictor of prognosis in HCC.

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