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Alpha-fetoprotein and albumin relate inversely to each other and to tumor parameters in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma
1Liver Transplant Institute, Inonu University Faculty of Medicine, 44280, Malatya, Türkiye
2National Institute of Gastroenterology, S. de Bellis Research Hospital, Bari, Italy
3Liver Transplant Institute, Inonu University Faculty of Medicine, 44280, Malatya, Türkiye; Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Inonu University, 44280, Malatya, Türkiye
Hepatology Forum 2024; 5(1): 11-17 DOI: 10.14744/hf.2023.2023.0023 PMCID: PMC10809334
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Background and Aim: Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), an oncofetal protein and biomarker in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), has unclear roles and ac-tions.To evaluate the relationships between AFP, liver function tests, and HCC aggressiveness.
Material and Methods: A retrospective analysis of an HCC patient data-base was conducted to examine the relationships between baseline serum AFP values, liver function tests, and tumor characteristics.
Results: Statistically significant positive trends were observed between AFP levels and both AST and bilirubin, along with negative trends between AFP and albumin. Significant correlations were also found between AFP and MTD, multifocality, and PVT. Increases in MTD, multifocality, and PVT were noted even at low AFP levels, indicating both AFP-independent and AFP-dependent processes. However, these parameter changes were minimal compared to the substantial changes in AFP levels. Relationships between AFP-related liver and tumor characteristics were found to be sim-ilar but inverse to those for albumin, with normal albumin levels associated with more favorable tumor characteristics. Additionally, serum levels of albumin and AFP were inversely related.
Conclusion: AFP and albumin levels significantly, but inversely, correlate with tumor parameters, suggesting that albumin may suppress HCC func-tions and could serve as a potential prognostic marker.