Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Test Improves Detection Of Liver Cancer

Date:
August 9, 2007
Source:
VIB, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology
Summary:
Cancer of the liver is very difficult to detect, and it is a major cause of death in Asia and Africa, with rising incidence in Western countries. Researchers have now developed a test to detect liver cancer in early stage. A blood sample is the only requirement for the test. The test enables accurate detection of liver cancer in over 50 percent of the cases.

Cancer of the liver is very difficult to detect, and it is a major cause of death in Asia and Africa, with rising incidence in Western countries as well.

Now, VIB researchers connected to Ghent University, in collaboration with research centers in Beijing and Shanghai in China, have developed a test to detect liver cancer in an early stage. A small blood sample is the only requirement for the test. The new test enables accurate detection of liver cancer in over 50% of the cases for which previous diagnostic tests have not been able to provide a definitive answer.

Liver cancer

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most prevalent primary liver cancer. The disease most often appears following a chronic inflammation of the liver as a consequence of a hepatitis B or C virus infection or cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis of the liver comprises a group of liver diseases in which the normal liver cells become damaged and are replaced by scar tissue.

This reduces the amount of healthy liver tissue, and the accumulation of scar tissue disrupts the development and functioning of this complex organ. Cirrhosis of the liver has various causes, including: excessive use of alcohol, chronic viral hepatitis B, C and D infections, diseases of the bile ducts, and parasitic infections.

Half a million patients die every year in China because of cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer. 60% to 80% of the patients with liver cancer have a previous history of cirrhosis of the liver. In Belgium as well, 350 new cases of liver cancer occur each year. Transplantation often offers the only possible remedy. Detection methods that would detect HCC in an early stage would save many lives.

Current detection methods

Methods of detecting malignant growths are often based on the concentration of particular substances -- called 'markers' -- present in the blood. For the detection of HCC, only one marker (AFP) is generally used. However, this marker has a low specificity and is frequently inadequate because of false-positive results.

New blood test

A new test for detecting HCC was developed by Xue-en Liu, Liesbeth Desmyter and colleagues under the supervision of Cuiying Chen (Chitty) in collaboration with scientists in China. This test is based on previous work of Prof. em. Roland Contreras and Nico Callewaert.

By examining blood concentrations in Chinese patients with cirrhosis of the liver due to a hepatitis B virus infection, they found that the quantities of two particular sugar groups that appear on the blood proteins varied according to the stage of the disease. Furthermore, these values correlated with the size of the tumor. The ratio of these values forms the basis of the new blood test. The researchers were able to make the correct diagnosis in 70% of the cases a success rate that equals that of the AFP tumor marker currently being used in the clinic.

Promising results

When the AFP test is used in combination with the new test, the accuracy of HCC diagnosis rises dramatically. The new test succeeds in detecting liver cancer in more than half of the patients with cirrhosis of the liver for which the AFP test provides no answer. This test would allow frequent and non-invasive analyses to be carried out on cirrhosis patients, which would enable scientists to detect liver cancer in an earlier stage and to closely monitor the development of the disease.

At the moment, the researchers are working on implementing this test for the diagnosis of liver disease in compliance with clinical practice. The new results concerning HCC diagnosis provide an extra incentive for pursuing this development as intensively as possible.

Funding

This research has been funded by BOF, FWO, UGent and VIB.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by VIB, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

VIB, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology. "New Test Improves Detection Of Liver Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070808132051.htm>.
VIB, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology. (2007, August 9). New Test Improves Detection Of Liver Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070808132051.htm
VIB, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology. "New Test Improves Detection Of Liver Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070808132051.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hundreds in Virginia Turn out for a Free Clinic to Manage Health

Hundreds in Virginia Turn out for a Free Clinic to Manage Health

AFP (July 24, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th - prompting hundreds in Virginia to turn out for a free clinic run by “Remote Area Medical”. Duration 02:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins