Author(s): Mukozu T, Nagai H, Matsui D, Kanekawa T, Sumino Y
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Abstract AIM: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a primary driving force for both physiological and pathological angiogenesis, and its overexpression has been found in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The aim of this study was to retrospectively clarify the usefulness of serum VEGF levels as a tumor marker in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related liver cirrhosis (CLC) and HCC. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The patients with CLC were divided into three groups: 28 patients without HCC (CLC group), 11 patients with HCC (HCC group), and 48 patients with advanced HCC (aHCC group). The control group consisted of 37 patients with chronic HCV. RESULTS: When the relation of serum VEGF to liver function was assessed, there was no significant difference of VEGF levels between the control group and the CLC group. When serum VEGF levels were assessed in relation to the presence of HCC, the VEGF levels of the HCC group and aHCC group were found to be significantly higher than that of the control group, while there was no significant difference between the control group and the CLC group. For the detection of cancer, serum VEGF had the largest area under the curve (AUC) and the highest accuracy when we employed the cut-off value obtained by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis using the Youden index. Evaluation of various tumor markers in the aHCC group showed that the serum levels of α-fetoprotein (AFP) were higher in patients with infiltrating tumors than in patients with multiple discrete nodules or confluent multinodular tumors, while there were no significant differences in the serum levels of VEGF, Lens culinaris agglutinin-reactive fraction of AFP (AFP-L3), and des-γ-carboxy prothrombin. There were no significant differences on the serum levels of all four markers between tumor stages, but serum VEGF was higher in patients with vascular invasion than in those without vascular invasion. CONCLUSION: The present findings suggest that the serum levels of VEGF might be a useful predictor of the presence of HCC in patients with CLC, while serum levels of AFP and VEGF can predict the tumor type and vascular invasion, respectively.
This article was published in Anticancer Res
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology