African Health Sciences

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Diagnostic value of glypican-3 in alpha fetoprotein negative hepatocellular carcinoma patients

B Li, H Liu, HW Shang, P Li, N Li, HG Ding


Background: The prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma(HCC) is generally very poor with a 5-year survival rate of less than 15% since most of them are diagnosed clinically at their late stage.However,the differential diagnosis between alpha fetoprotein(AFP) negative HCC and cirrhotic nodules is still difficult.
Objectives: To evaluate the diagnostic value of glypican-3(GPC3) in patients with AFP negative hepatitis B related HCC.
Methods The liver tissue GPC3 (GPC3L) expression was tested from 426 for surgery and 179 of needle biopsies of hepatitis B related HCC patients using immunohistochemistry staining. Serum GPC3 (GPC3S) and AFP were also measured.
Results Among surgical HCC samples, 80.0% of GPC3L expression was positive, however, in paracarcinomatous and cirrhotic nodules were negative. In needle biopsy tissues, GPC3L positively expression was in 74.9%. The sensitivity of AFP>400ìg/L was 25.4%. The GPC3S >3.5ìg/L was determined as a positive. The area of ROC curve of GPC3S was
0.68(95% CI 0.56-0.79,P<0.05) in all HCC patients,0.81 (95% CI 0.62 -0. 98, P<0.05) in AFP greater or equal to 400ìg/L and 0.64 (95% CI 0.51-0.77, P=0.051) in AFP negative patients. The GPC3S was positive in 48.8% of patients with AFP negative. No difference was observed between GPC3L/GPC3S and serum AFP.
Conclusions GPC3 may be helpful in improving diagnosis of HCC and in differentiating diagnosis between AFP negative HCC and cirrhotic nodules.

Key words: Hepatocellular carcinoma; Glypican-3; Differential diagnosis, Alpha fetoprotein, Hepatitis B
AJOL African Journals Online