More than 700,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer each year worldwide.1
What is liver cancer?
Liver cancer is a type of cancer that begins when liver cells develop changes (mutations) in their DNA. This can result in uncontrolled cell growth and metastasis (tumor formation).1
What are the signs and symptoms?
Most people don’t have signs and symptoms in the early stages of primary liver cancer. Symptoms in later stages may include weight loss, appetite loss, fatigue, upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and yellowed skin.1
Liver Cancer Biomarkers
AFP & GPC3
are expressed in ~70% of liver cancers and AFP is commonly used as a diagnostic marker.*
The role of AFP
Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is an intracellular protein that is normally produced by the yolk sac and the liver in a baby before it is born and declines by one year of age. However, in many people with liver cancer, such as HCC, HB and HCN-NOS (Hepatocellular Neoplasm-Not Otherwise Specified), the level of AFP rises. Although the function of AFP remains unclear, it is believed to promote the reproduction of cells, prevent cell death, and suppress the immune system; all attributes of disease progression.6
The role of GPC3
Glypican 3 (GPC3) is a cell-surface protein, which is normally detected in the placenta and in numerous tissues within a growing embryo. In a healthy adult liver, there is no GPC3 on the cell surface, but in a majority of liver cancers such as HCC, HB and HCN-NOS, it is abundant. GPC3 is thought to play a role in the regulation of cell growth and differentiation, suggesting that it increases growth in tumors that have high levels of GPC3.7
2. Meyers RL. Surgical Oncology. 2007;16(3):195-203.
3. Trobaugh-Lotrario AD, et al. Pediatric Blood & Cancer. 2013;60(11):1817-25.
4. Bulterys GM, et al. SEER Pediatric Monograph. Chapter VII Hepatic Tumors (1975-1995).
5. Howlader NA, et al. SEER Cancer Statistics Review (1975-2009).
6. Pardee AD, et al. Journal of Immunology. 2014;193(11):5723-32.
7. Iglesias BV, et al. Histology and Histopathology. 2008;23(11):1333-40.
* GPC3: ccr.cancer.gov; AFP: clinlabnavigator.com