Serum Alpha-Fetoprotein Levels During and After Interferon Therapy and the Development of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C
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The association between serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels during and after interferon (IFN) therapy and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was evaluated in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC). A total of 263 patients treated by IFN with or without ribavirin were enrolled in the study. Serum AFP levels during and after IFN therapy were investigated retrospectively, and statistical analysis was performed to identify the factors associated with HCC development. During IFN therapy, serum AFP levels significantly decreased, regardless of virologic response to treatment. Increased serum AFP levels (≥10 ng/ml) at the end of IFN therapy (EOT) was a close-to-significant variable affecting the development of HCC (P = 0.057), and a significantly higher cumulative incidence of HCC was seen in patients with increased serum AFP levels at EOT (P = 0.021). Serum AFP level at EOT is a possible predictor of HCC in CHC patients after IFN therapy.
KeywordsChronic hepatitis C Interferon Alpha-fetoprotein Hepatocellular carcinoma
The following doctors at each of the institutions participating in the Niigata Liver Disease Study Group contributed equally to the study: Nobuo Waguri and Kentaro Igarashi (Niigata City General Hospital, Niigata), Toru Ishikawa and Tomoteru Kamimura (Saiseikai Niigata Second Hospital, Niigata), Motoya Sugiyama (Niigata Prefectural Shibata Hospital, Shibata), Soichi Sugitani (Tachikawa General Hospital, Nagaoka), Norio Ogata (Tsubame Rosai Hospital, Tsubame), Toru Hatano (Nagaoka Chuo General Hospital, Nagaoka), Toru Takahashi (Nagaoka Red Cross Hospital, Nagaoka), Hitoshi Bannai (Saiseikai Sanjo Hospital, Sanjo), Hiroto Wakabayashi (Takeda General Hospital, Aizuwakamatsu), Atsuo Sekine (Niigata Prefectural Yoshida Hospital, Tsubame), Toshiyuki Kato (Niigata Prefectural Cancer Center Hospital, Niigata), Masaaki Hirano (Niigata Prefectural Central Hospital, Joetsu), and Toru Miyajima (Toyosaka Hospital, Niigata).
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