Introduction: Thrombomodulin (TM) and endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR) are two transmembrane endothelial receptors involved in the protein C pathway, that regulates coagulation and inflammation processes. We postulated that soluble thrombomodulin and EPCR are plasmatic markers of progression to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and prognostic indicators in cirrhotic patients. Materials and methods: Plasma levels of TM and EPCR were measured in 104 patients affected by different stages of liver diseases (66 patients with HCC, and 38 without HCC), and in 52 healthy controls. Results: EPCR levels were higher in patients than in controls (239 ± 1.8 ng/mL vs. 127 ± 1.5 ng/mL, p <0.0001). TM levels were higher in patients with HCC than in those without (42.1 ± 2.0 ng/mL vs. 28.3 ± 2.1 ng/mL; p = 0.039), while EPCR levels were similar in the two groups. No association between TM and clinical outcome was found, while high levels of EPCR were associated with death and thrombosis of the portal vein. Conclusions: We surmise a possible role for high levels of TM as a marker of HCC development in patients with cirrhosis, whereas high levels of EPCR are a possible marker of worse HCC prognosis, being a sign of endothelial damage of large vessels.
- Endothelial protein C receptor
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine