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Keywords:

  • AFP-L3;
  • alpha-fetoprotein;
  • DCP;
  • hepatocellular carcinoma;
  • NX-PVKA;
  • prognosis

Abstract

Background and Aims

Serum des-γ-carboxy prothrombin (DCP) is an established tumor marker in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which can be identified by using MU-3 antibody. The MU-3 antibody mainly reacts with the 9–10 glutamic acid residues of DCP (conventional DCP). Since other variants of DCP with fewer glutamic acid residues can be detected using P-11 and P-16 antibodies (code name: NX-PVKA), we examined the clinical characteristics associated with NX-PVKA, and whether NX-PVKA is a useful measure in HCC patients.

Methods

Participants comprised 197 HCC patients admitted to our hospital between 2001 and 2010. NX-PVKA, conventional DCP, alpha-fetoprotein, and L3 fraction of alpha-fetoprotein were measured prior to initiation of HCC treatment.

Results

Of the tumor markers assessed, NX-PVKA was the only significant predictor of prognosis (hazard ratio, 81.32; P < 0.0001). Patients with NX-PVKA level ≥ 100 mAU/mL showed significantly lower survival rates (P < 0.0001). NX-PVKA level was also significantly associated with platelet count, prothrombin time, C-reactive protein, sex, maximum tumor size, number of nodules, and portal venous invasion by HCC. Finally, using NX-PVKA level and other clinical parameters, we established a prognostic model to estimate patient survival time.

Conclusions

NX-PVKA offers the best marker of tumor prognosis among HCC patients, and is strongly associated with tumor factors and hepatic functional reserve. NX-PVKA could be useful for clinical evaluation of tumor severity, as well as the estimated duration of survival among patients with HCC.