Aims: To evaluate possible modifications in the manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) activity during neoplastic transformation of a cirrhotic liver and to find out whether its assessment may have predictive value to identify cirrhotic patients at a higher risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Methods: Seventy-one consecutive subjects with Child-Pugh class A liver cirrhosis were recruited. At the time of enrolment, HCC was diagnosed in 20 cirrhotic patients. The 51 cirrhotic patients without HCC were followed up for the occurrence of tumour by 6-monthly screening for 7 years. During follow-up, 16 patients developed HCC. Seventy healthy subjects formed the control group. MnSOD activity was assayed spectrophotometrically. Results: Serum MnSOD activity was significantly lower in 70 healthy subjects compared with 51 cirrhotic patients and 20 cirrhotic patients with HCC. Cirrhotic patients who developed HCC during follow-up showed significantly higher values of MnSOD activity than HCC-free patients. The best cut-off of MnSOD activity was 0.40U/ml. At this cut-off, x 2 analysis revealed that MnSOD activity was significantly different between the HCC-free cirrhotic patients and cirrhotic patients who developed HCC. Conclusion: The present findings suggest that during neoplastic transformation of cirrhotic liver, an increase in MnSOD activity may occur already during the precancerous phase, making this enzyme a probable malignancy-associated parameter.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Liver cirrhosis
- Manganese superoxide dismutase
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