miRNA expression in patient samples. (A) Real-time PCR analysis of miR-21, miR-222 and miR-145 expression from patient serum samples. The miRNA levels in healthy controls were arbitrarily set as 1.0 and compared with advanced liver disease patients. (B) Comparison of miR-21, miR-222 and miR-145 expressions between healthy controls, LC and HCC patients. RNA was isolated from serum samples using miRVANA small RNA isolation kit and assayed using the TaqMan miRNA kit. The results were normalized to U6 endogenous control. Experiments were performed in triplicate. Error bars are means of ± standard deviation (SD). Mann–Whitney U test was performed to determine P-values (*P < 0.05, **P < 0.01, ***P < 0.001). LC = liver cirrhosis; HCC = Hepatocellular carcinoma.