Serum markers of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Department of Biomedical Science, University of Catania, Via Androne 83, 95124, Catania, Italy.
Digestive Diseases and Sciences (Impact Factor: 2.26). 03/2010; 55(10):2744-55. DOI: 10.1007/s10620-010-1184-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the most common malignant tumors and carries a poor survival rate. The management of patients at risk for developing HCC remains intricate.
A literature search identified potential markers for hepatocellular carcinoma. These markers were analysed and justification was provided for these factors' inclusion to (or exclusion from) the markers of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). A search of the literature was made using cancer literature and the PubMed database for the following keywords: "markers and HCC," "Lens culinaris agglutinin reactive AFP (AFP-L3) and HCC," "Des-γ-carboxy prothrombin (DCP) and HCC," "Glypican-3 and HCC," "Chromogranin A and HCC," "Transforming growth factor β1(TGF) and HCC," "α-l-fucosidase (AFU) and HCC," "Golgi protein-73 (GP73) and HCC," "Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and HCC," "Nervous growth factor (NGF) and HCC."
Despite the large number of studies devoted to the immunohistochemistry of HCC, at the present time, the absolute positive and negative markers for HCC are still lacking, and even those characterized by very high sensitivity and specificity do not have an universal diagnostic usefulness. Given the poor response to current therapies, a better understanding of the molecular pathways active in this disease could potentially provide new targets for therapy. However, AFP shows a low sensitivity, therefore other biomarkers have been developed to make an early diagnosis and improve patients' prognosis.

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    ABSTRACT: Evaluation of: Shen Q, Fan J, Yang XR et al. Serum DKK1 as a protein biomarker for the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma: a large-scale, multicentre study. Lancet Oncol. 13(8), 817-826 (2012). Hyperactivation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway has been implicated in cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) is a secretory antagonist of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and has been found to be upregulated in many cancer types. The functional role of DKK1 in cancer progression has been revealed in several studies but there is controversy with regard to its antitumor function; its oncogenic role seems to be context-dependent. Nevertheless, DKK1 has been proposed to be a potential new biomarker in several types of cancers. The paper by Shen et al. revealed the diagnostic accuracy of DKK1 as a serum biomarker for HCC in a large-scale, multicenter study. Their study demonstrated that serum DKK1 was high in both sensitivity and specificity in diagnosing HCC, especially early-stage HCC and α-fetoprotein-negative HCCs. The authors also demonstrated that combination of serum α-fetoprotein with serum DKK1 could further improve the diagnostic accuracy. Overall, their findings revealed the importance and significance of DKK1 in HCC diagnosis.
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May 28, 2014