Non-Profit Trusted Source of Non-Commercial Health Information
The Original Voice of the American Academy of Anti-Aging, Preventative, and Regenerative Medicine
logo logo
Cancer Diagnostics Imaging Techniques

Alpha Fetoprotein Testing May Detect Liver Cancer Sooner

3 months, 3 weeks ago

1797  0
Posted on Feb 27, 2018, 8 p.m.

Researchers from the UT Southwestern Simmons Cancer Center have conducted a study saying that ultrasound imaging when used in combination with blood testing for alpha fetoprotein could help to improve the detection of early stage liver cancer by 40%, as published in the journal Gastroenterology.

 

Earlier detection is most essential for improving the survival rates for patients that are diagnosed with liver cancer. Occurrences of the disease are increasing and it is the fastest rising solid tumor cancer in the USA according to the National Cancer Institute. Early detection of cancers enables doctors to perform curative therapies helping to extend the survival of patients to many years. Sadly most cases of liver cancer are diagnosed at later stages when the opportunity for curative treatment is no longer an option and chances of survival are much worse.

Researchers from the UT Southwestern Simmons Cancer Center have conducted a study saying that ultrasound imaging when used in combination with blood testing for alpha fetoprotein could help to improve the detection of early stage liver cancer by 40%, as published in the journal Gastroenterology.

 

Earlier detection is most essential for improving the survival rates for patients that are diagnosed with liver cancer. Occurrences of the disease are increasing and it is the fastest rising solid tumor cancer in the USA according to the National Cancer Institute. Early detection of cancers enables doctors to perform curative therapies helping to extend the survival of patients to many years. Sadly most cases of liver cancer are diagnosed at later stages when the opportunity for curative treatment is no longer an option and chances of survival are much worse.

 

The National Cancer Institute states that most cases of cancers are decreasing in the USA, but the incidence of liver cancer has risen by 2.7% in the past decade, and estimates that close to 40,700 new cases of liver cancer will be diagnosed in the USA alone in 2018.

 

Chronic heavy alcohol consumption, hepatitis C infections, and nonalcoholics fatty liver disease related to obesity and diabetes are risk factors for the development of liver cancer. Symptoms may include white chalky stools, loss of weight, loss of appetite, general fatigue, and upper abdominal pain and/or swelling.

 

Liver cancer screening guidelines vary, some calling for imaging alone and other calling for both blood tests along with imaging. Screening of patients with chronic liver disease is typically conducted using an abdominal ultrasound as it is easily available and noninvasive, but it can miss many cancers if they are small.

 

Adding the blood biomarker alpha fetoprotein increased early stage hepatocellular carcinoma from 45% efficiency when using ultrasound alone to 63% efficiency when used in combination says Dr. Amit Singal. Alpha fetoprotein is a plasma protein secreted in large quantity by liver cells in the fetus, levels are typically low in adults, liver cancer can elevate these levels. Adding that the results support a change in clinical practice by adding the combination of ultrasound and biomarkers for liver cancer screening, highlighting the importance of continued development and validation of blood based biomarkers for early cancer detection.

Materials provided by:

Medical News Net

Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

WorldHealth Videos