Early Detection Research Network


Since 90% of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have underlying cirrhosis, patients with cirrhosis are candidates for HCC surveillance. Despite advances in medical technology, the 5-year survival of patients with HCC has improved minimally from 2% to 5% from 1981 to 1998. This may be largely due to diagnosis at late stage disease. These studies aim to compare the performance characteristics of the biomarkers AFP, DCP (des-gamma carboxyprothrombin) and AFP-L3 (lectin-bound AFP) in the early diagnosis of HCC.
Under Review
AFP has been approved by the FDA as a component of lab test to diagnose the risk of developing liver cancer in patients with chronic liver disease (CLD). The test measures levels of both AFP-L3 and AFP in the blood, and calculates AFP-L3 levels as a percentage of total AFP. Higher levels of AFP-L3 are associated with higher risk of developing liver cancer. According to the FDA, if the percentage of AFP-L3 is greater or equal to 10%, the risk is seven-fold that the patient will develop liver cancer in the next 21 months.

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