Fucosylation Index of α-Fetoprotein, a Possible Aid in the Early Recognition of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Patients with Cirrhosis

Authors

  • Yutaka Aoyagi,

    Corresponding author
    1. The Third Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Niigata University School of Medicine, Asahimachi Dori-1-Bancho, 757, Niigata 951
    • The Third Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Niigata University School of Medicine, Asahimachi Dori-1-Bancho, 757, Niigata 951, Japan
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  • Atsushi Saitoh,

    1. The Third Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Niigata University School of Medicine, Asahimachi Dori-1-Bancho, 757, Niigata 951
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  • Yasufumi Suzuki,

    1. The Third Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Niigata University School of Medicine, Asahimachi Dori-1-Bancho, 757, Niigata 951
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  • Kentarou Igarashi,

    1. The Third Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Niigata University School of Medicine, Asahimachi Dori-1-Bancho, 757, Niigata 951
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  • Makoto Oguro,

    1. The Third Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Niigata University School of Medicine, Asahimachi Dori-1-Bancho, 757, Niigata 951
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  • Tsuyoshi Yokota,

    1. The Third Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Niigata University School of Medicine, Asahimachi Dori-1-Bancho, 757, Niigata 951
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  • Shigeki Mori,

    1. The Third Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Niigata University School of Medicine, Asahimachi Dori-1-Bancho, 757, Niigata 951
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  • Takeshi Suda,

    1. The Third Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Niigata University School of Medicine, Asahimachi Dori-1-Bancho, 757, Niigata 951
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  • Hitoshi Asakura,

    1. Laboratory of Biochemistry, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, The University of Shizuoka, Shizuoka 422, Japan
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  • Mamoru Isemura

    1. Laboratory of Biochemistry, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, The University of Shizuoka, Shizuoka 422, Japan
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Abstract

We report here on three patients with cirrhosis for whom an early recognition of hepatocellular carcinoma was made possible by the measurement of the degree of fucosylation (fucosylation index) of α-fetoprotein. Increased levels of this index associated with a moderate increment of serum concentration of α-fetoprotein were observed in three patients with cirrhosis who showed no indication of hepatocellular carcinoma by several imaging modalities. Four years after the onset of an increase in the fucosylation index, small hepatocellular carcinoma with a tumor diameter less than 2 cm was revealed in case 1. In cases 2 and 3, small hepatocellular carcinomas were detected 24 mo and 9 mo, respectively, after the first sign of the increase in the index. However, the development to hepatocellular carcinoma was not detected in five patients with cirrhosis in whom continuous increments of serum concentration of α-fetoprotein with low levels of fucosylation index were observed during the prospective follow-up from 3 to 9 yr. These findings indicated that the fucosylation index of α-fetoprotein can be used as an aid in an early recognition of hepatocellular carcinoma, especially in patients with cirrhosis during the follow-up process in which the moderate increment of serum concentration of α-fetoprotein is noted. (HEPATOLOGY 1993;17:50–52.)

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