Lectin-binding analysis of serum alpha-fetoprotein: Predictive importance of the change of AFP sugar chain in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma

  • Yasuo Endo


In Japan, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) usually develops on the basis of liver cirrhosis that results from chronic infection by hepatitis virus B (HVB) or C (HVC). One of the most important factors which influences the prognosis of the patient is early detection of the tumor, i.e., detection when it is as small as possible. HCC is diagnosed using a combination of imaging methods, such as ultrasound (US) techniques, computed tomography (CT), angiography, and tumor marker assays. Of the various tumor markers, alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and protein induced by vitamin K antagonist II (PIVKA-II) are the most reliable, and for an early diagnosis of HCC, it is necessary to regularly check the patient using imaging methods and AFP assays. Because of recent progress in the development of diagnostic techniques, detection of tumors less than 2 cm in diameter is increasing. In patients with small tumors, 64% do not show elevation of serum AFP levels [1] (Table 1). However, in some patients, regular AFP checks give clues for the early detection of HCC.


Chronic Hepatitis Liver Cirrhosis Ascites Fluid Sugar Chain Metastatic Liver Cancer 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yasuo Endo
    • 1
  1. 1.Sanraku HospitalChiyoda-ku, TokyoJapan

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