α-Fetoprotein, tissue polypeptide antigen and ferritin in diagnosing primary hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with liver cirrhosis

G. Leandro, Daniela Basso, C. Fabris, S. Zizzari, Silvana Elba, G. Del Favero, F. Di Mario, Tamara Meggiato, Cristina Angonese, R. Naccarato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study was undertaken in order to compare the usefulness of three indices of tumour proliferation in detecting primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and in differentiating this neoplasm from liver cirrhosis. In 10 patients with HCC and in 63 with liver cirrhosis serum α-fetoprotein (AFP), tissue polypeptide antigen (TPA) and ferritin were assayed. Increased levels of AFP but not of TPA and ferritin were observed in HCC as compared to liver cirrhosis. The receiver-operating characteristic curves demonstrated that AFP is more discriminating between HCC and liver cirrhosis than the other two markers. Correlations between liver function tests and serum markers were observed in liver cirrhosis but not in HCC. We can conclude that AFP is more useful than TPA and ferritin in detecting HCC in patients with liver cirrhosis, owing to the high frequency of false positive results of the latter two indices in liver cirrhosis. Liver dysfunction is probably involved in increasing all these markers of malignancy, thus reducing the specificity of these tests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-278
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
Volume115
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1989

Keywords

  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Primary hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Tumour markers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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