Hepatocarcinoma (HCC), the most frequent malignant hepatic neoplasia, is sometimes difficult to diagnose at an early stage since the symptoms may be attributed to concomitant hepatic cirrhosis. The assay of alpha-fetoprotein associated with an ultrasound examination of the hepatic parenchyma is an important screening tool for high-risk patients. Ultrasound examination is considered the most sensitive method and alpha-fetoprotein is a supplementary diagnostic tool. Elevated alpha-fetoprotein only occasionally precedes morphological anomalies and even in these cases the neoplastic aspect emerges within a short period of time. The case reported here illustrates the "astronomic" increase of alpha-fetoprotein in a high-risk patient for HCC (positive HBsAg cirrhosis) without the manifest appearance of any instrumental or histological data confirming the presence of the tumour for two years. When the tumour was identified in instrumental tests it had spread throughout the entire hepatic parenchyma in a form which could no longer be treated using any form of therapy. The case reported here emphasizes the diagnostic value of alphafetoprotein in high-risk patients for HCC, even in the prolonged absence of all other data regarding neoplastic transformation.
|Translated title of the contribution||A case of hepatocarcinoma preceded by several years by "isolated" increase in alphafetoprotein|
|Number of pages||3|
|Journal||Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 1992|
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