Multicenter analysis of soluble Axl reveals diagnostic value for very early stage hepatocellular carcinoma
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AbstractIf diagnosed at early stages, patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can receive curative therapies, whereas therapeutic options at later stages are very limited. Here, we addressed the potential of soluble Axl (sAxl) as a biomarker of early HCC by analyzing levels of sAxl in 311 HCC and 237 control serum samples from centers in Europe and China. Serum concentrations of sAxl were significantly increased in HCC (18.575 ng/mL) as compared to healthy (13.388 ng/mL) or cirrhotic (12.169 ng/mL) controls. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis of sAxl in very early stage HCC patients (BCLC 0) showed an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.848, with a sensitivity of 76.9% and a specificity of 69.2%. α-Fetoprotein (AFP)-negative HCC patients displayed an AUC of 0.803, with sensitivity and specificity of 73% and 70.8%. Combination of sAxl and AFP improved diagnostic accuracy to 0.936 in very early HCC patients and to 0.937 in all HCC. Differential diagnosis of very early HCC versus liver cirrhosis showed a combined performance for sAxl and AFP of 0.901 with a sensitivity of 88.5% and a specificity of 76.7%. Furthermore, sAxl levels failed to be elevated in primary ovarian, colorectal and breast carcinomas as well as in secondary hepatic malignancies derived from colon. In summary, sAxl outperforms AFP in detecting very early HCC as compared to healthy or cirrhotic controls and shows high diagnostic accuracy for AFP-negative patients. sAxl is specific for HCC and suggested as a biomarker for routine clinical use. What's new? If diagnosed at early stages, patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can receive curative therapies, whereas therapeutic options at later stages are limited. Detection of early stage hepatocellular carcinoma by measuring serum α-fetoprotein (AFP) however exhibits only moderate sensitivity. This study shows that serum concentrations of soluble Axl (sAxl) are increased in very early, early and advanced HCC as well as in AFP-negative HCC patients, as compared to cirrhotic controls. Assessment of sAxl levels allows accurate differential diagnosis of very early HCC versus cirrhosis and other types of cancer, suggesting that sAxl is a promising diagnostic biomarker for routine clinical use.
All Author(s) ListReichl P., Fang M., Starlinger P., Staufer K., Nenutil R., Muller P., Greplova K., Valik D., Dooley S., Brostjan C., Gruenberger T., Shen J., Man K., Trauner M., Yu J., Gao C.F., Mikulits W.
Journal nameInternational Journal of Cancer
Year2015
Month7
Day15
Volume Number137
Issue Number2
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Inc.
Place of PublicationUnited States
Pages385 - 394
ISSN0020-7136
eISSN1097-0215
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
Keywordsbiomarker, hepatocellular carcinoma, soluble Axl, α-fetoprotein

Last updated on 2020-15-09 at 01:48