Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) as a biochemical marker for the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)

Author(s): MN Hamdy, KY Shaheen, Mona AM Awad, Eman MF Barakat, SI Shalaby, Neelima Gupta and Varsha Gupta

Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), a malignant tumor is common in Egypt. Early diagnosis of HCC is important; therefore, this study evaluated the diagnostic potential of VEGF for diagnosis of HCC and its capability to differentiate HCC from benign tumor and CLD in early stages. Three groups of patients: Group I with HCC (n=116), Group II with Chronic Liver Diseases (CLD) (n=30) and Group III control (n=30) were subjected to full history, clinical examination, liver function tests and radiological investigations. Peripheral blood samples were assayed for VEGF by sandwich ELISA technique, quantitation was achieved by the construction of a standard curve. Serum VEGF and AFP were significantly higher in HCC. A significant positive correlation between VEGF and AFP, Child score and class, Okuda class and total bilirubin and a significant negative correlation with albumin was observed. The cut-off to discriminate HCC and CLD from the healthy group was ≥ 280 pg/mL. VEGF is a highly useful marker for the diagnosis of HCC in patients with normal serum AFP concentrations. Its serum levels beyond threshold show its discriminatory potential for HCC and CLD suggesting that suspected patients with high ALT, AST and albumin levels may be screened for AFP and VEGF.