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More Reliable Biomarkers Needed for Early Detection of Liver Cancer
Date:2/25/2010

s improved over the last decade, but five-year survival of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has remained less than 10 percent. The poor outcome of patients with HCC is related to late detection with more than two-thirds of patients diagnosed at advanced stages of disease. A major problem with HCC surveillance is the lack of reliable biomarkers. While AFP is the most widely used biomarker for HCC surveillance, experience with DCP is limited.

The study was conducted in 10 centers in the United States and funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health.

Among 1,031 patients randomized in the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment Against Cirrhosis Trial, a nested case-control study of 39 HCC cases (24 early stage) and 77 matched controls was conducted to compare the performance of AFP and DCP. Testing was performed on serial serum samples collected during a 12 month period prior to the time of HCC diagnosis.

DCP was not superior to AFP in the early detection of HCC in patients with advanced hepatitis C and neither AFP alone, DCP alone, nor the combination of AFP and DCP was sufficiently accurate to be used for HCC surveillance. The combination of both markers enhanced the sensitivity, indicating that these two markers are complementary
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SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
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