Routine screening for hepatocellular carcinoma among chronic carriers of hepatitis B virus using a combination of abdominal sonography and serum alpha-fetoprotein levels is widely practiced. Negative results on an abdominal sonogram generally indicate the absence of hepatocellular carcinoma despite the elevation of alpha-fetoprotein levels, but the false-negative rate of abdominal sonography has not been established prospectively.
In our screening program, we routinely investigated patients with Lipiodol (iodized oil) CT when they presented with alpha-fetoprotein levels above 20 ng/mL or a focal lesion as depicted on abdominal sonography. Lipiodol CT comprised a hepatic angiogram with injection of Lipiodol selectively in the hepatic arteries, followed by an unenhanced CT scan 10 days later. Positive findings on Lipiodol CT were confirmed histologically by biopsy or surgical resection. We defined false-negative as histologic diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma within 3 months of normal findings on screening abdominal sonography.
One hundred three patients with elevated alpha-fetoprotein levels were investigated with Lipiodol CT within 2 months of abdominal sonography. Of these, three of 70 patients with negative abdominal sonography had histologically confirmed hepatocellular carcinoma. Thus, abdominal sonography has a false-negative rate of 4.3%. Lipiodol CT is associated with a significant false-positive rate of 43.7%. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value of abdominal sonography for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma among hepatitis B virus carriers with elevated alpha-fetoprotein levels was 85.7%, 81.7%, and 54.5%, respectively.
Negative results on a screening abdominal sonogram among hepatitis B virus carriers with elevated alpha-fetoprotein levels does not rule out the presence of small hepatocellular carcinoma. Routine use of Lipiodol CT as a supplementary screening tool is not recommended.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In patients with chronic liver disease, the accuracy of ultrasound scan (US), spiral computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in diagnosing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has never been systematically assessed, and present systematic review was aimed at this issue.
Pertinent cross-sectional studies having as a reference standard pathological examinations of the explanted liver or resected segment(s), biopsies of focal lesion(s), and/or a period of follow-up, were identified using MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and CancerLit. Pooled sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratios (LR) were calculated using the random effect model. Summary receiver operating characteristic (SROC) curve and predefined subgroup analyses were made when indicated.
The pooled estimates of the 14 US studies were 60% (95% CI 44-76) for sensitivity, 97% (95% CI 95-98) for specificity, 18 (95% CI 8-37) for LR+, and 0.5 (95% CI 0.4-0.6) for LR-; for the 10 CT studies sensitivity was 68% (95% CI 55-80), specificity 93% (95% CI 89-96), LR+ 6 (95% CI 3-12),and LR- 0.4 (95% CI 0.3-0.6); for the nine MRI studies sensitivity was 81% (95% CI 70-91), specificity 85% (95%CI 77-93), LR+ 3.9 (95%CI 2-7), and LR- 0.3 (95% CI 0.2-0.5). The sensitivity and specificity of AFP varied widely, and this could not be entirely attributed to the threshold effect of the different cutoff levels used.
US is highly specific but insufficiently sensitive to detect HCC in many cirrhotics or to support an effective surveillance program. The operative characteristics of CT are comparable, whereas MRI is more sensitive. High-quality prospective studies are needed to define the actual diagnostic role of AFP.
The American Journal of Gastroenterology 04/2006; 101(3):513-23. DOI:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2006.00467.x · 10.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: A 49-year-old woman presented to the emergency department after a fall in which she sustained a right subcapital hip fracture. During her hospital stay she developed abdominal pain, and a hypoechoic liver mass was found on sonography. Multiphase CT showed a hepatic mass with brisk arterial phase enhancement, rapid washout on the portal venous phase, and delayed phase hypodensity. The final pathology diagnosis was hepatocellular carcinoma. CONCLUSION: Incidental lesions are frequently discovered during routine radiographic evaluations. Correlation with clinical history and additional confirmatory imaging is essential for appropriate diagnosis and management.
American Journal of Roentgenology 07/2006; 186(6 Suppl 1):S434-41. DOI:10.2214/AJR.05.1767 · 2.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the introduction of 2-(2-nitro-4-trifluormethyl-benzoyl)-1,3-cyclohexandion into the treatment of hereditary tyrosinemia type I (HT1), patients remain at risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Serial total alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels are used to monitor the individual patient. Lectin-reactive alpha-fetoprotein (L3-AFP) is an AFP isoform that is expressed by malignant liver tumors. We investigated whether the analysis of L3-AFP could lead to earlier detection of HCC in HT1 compared with judgement based on total AFP alone. AFP electrophoresis using lectin-containing agarose gel identifies L3-AFP by the affinity of its specific carbohydrate chain to lectin. We report the retrospective analysis of sequential serum samples of 12 patients with HT1 and histologically proven HCC. AFP isoforms could be identified in all 12 patients. In 6 patients, the L3-AFP increased before the total AFP. In 3 patients, the rise in L3-AFP was parallel to the rise of total AFP; and in 3 patients, the L3-AFP was raised after the total AFP or did not increase at all. We were able to identify 6 of 12 patients with an early increase in the new tumor marker. Lectin-affinity electrophoresis may have a role in discriminating benign liver disease from HCC in HT1. We suggest the further evaluation of L3-AFP in HT1.
Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 08/2006; 43(1):77-82. DOI:10.1097/01.mpg.0000228112.29359.f8 · 2.63 Impact Factor
Salvatore Leonardi, Martina Filippelli, Sara Manti, Caterina Cuppari, Carmelo Salpietro
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