Glypican-3 level assessed by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay is inferior to alpha-fetoprotein level for hepatocellular carcinoma diagnosis

Yejoo Jeon, Eun Sun Jang, Yun Suk Choi, Jin Wook Kim, Sook Hyang Jeong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Glypican-3 (GPC3) protein is highly expressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissue. It has been suggested as a diagnostic biomarker, but its inconsistent performance means that it requires further assessment. We therefore investigated the diagnostic value of the plasma GPC3 level compared to the alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) level as a diagnostic biomarker of HCC.

METHODS: We enrolled 157 consecutive patients with newly diagnosed HCC and 156 patients with liver cirrhosis (LC) as the control group. GPC3 plasma levels were measured using two commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs, named as Assay 1 and 2), and AFP levels were measured using an enzyme-linked chemiluminescent immunoassay. The diagnostic accuracy was analyzed using the receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve.

RESULTS: Plasma GPC3 levels in HCC patients were very low (0-3.09 ng/mL) in Assay 1, while only 3 of the 157 patients (1.9%) showed detectable GPC3 levels in Assay 2. The median GPC3 level was not significantly elevated in the HCC group (0.80 ng/mL) compared with the LC group (0.60 ng/mL). The area under the ROC curve (AUC) for GPC3 was 0.559 in Assay 1. In contrast, the median AFP level was significantly higher in HCC (27.72 ng/mL) than in LC (4.74 ng/mL), with an AUC of 0.729.

CONCLUSION: The plasma level of GPC3 is a poor diagnostic marker for HCC, being far inferior to AFP. The development of a consistent detection system for the blood level of GPC3 is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-365
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Molecular Hepatology
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • Alpha-fetoprotein
  • Biomarkers
  • Diagnosis
  • Glypican-3
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Sensitivity, Specificity

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