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This biomarker is also known as:
  • Prothrombin Induced by Vitamin K Absence II,
  • Des-gamma carboxyprothrombin,

View in BioMuta


Des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin (DCP) is a non-functional precursor of prothrombin. Prothrombin, produced by the liver, serves a critical role in normal hemostasis. Functional prothrombin contains several gamma-carboxy-glutamic acid (Gla) residues that are produced as the result of post-translational modification of glutamic acid residues mediated by vitamin K dependent gamma-glutamyl carboxylase. The formation of Gla residues can be impaired in patients with vitamin K deficiency or in patients receiving oral anticoagulant therapy. DCP lacks thrombotic activity and has been shown in multiple studies to be present in the serum of patients with HCC. DCP arises from an acquired defect in the post-translational carboxylation of the pro-thrombin precursor in malignant hepatocytes.


QA State: Curated
Type: Protein
Short Name:
HGNC Name:


There are no datasets associated with this biomarker.


The following organs have data associated with this biomarker…



Phase: Three
QA State: Curated


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common solid malignancies worldwide, and its incidence in the United States is increasing. Despite advances in medical technology, the 5-year survival of patients with HCC improved minimally from 2% to 5% between 1981 and 1998. Since 90% of patients with HCC have underlying cirrhosis, patients with cirrhosis are candidates for HCC surveillance. The currently recommended surveillance tests for HCC are ultrasound evaluation of the liver (US), with or without measurement of serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP). These tests are inadequately sensitive for use in screening, while ultrasound is also limited by the experience of the operator and on body habitus for adequate scanning. The performance of DCP to distinguish HCC from cirrhosis was compared to that of AFP or the lens culinaris agglutinin-reactive AFP (AFP-L3) and was shown to be superior, at a sensitivity of 92% and a specificity of 93%.

Performance Comment

The FDA has approved the use of DCP in a test designed to assess the risk of developing hepatocellular cancer (HCC) in patients with chronic liver disease. The test measures serum DCP levels, which can be used in conjunction with other clinical findings and imaging studies, to differentiate early HCC from cirrhosis.


This biomarker is currently being annotated or is under review. You must be logged in or do not have permission to view any additional information. Contact Heather Kincaid at if you should have access to this biomarker.

New Funding Opportunity: Biomarker Development Laboratories for the Early Detection Network: Applications Due May 23

Update: Pre-application webinar information now available.

The National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Prevention has released a new funding opportunity to solicit organ-specific applications for Biomarker Developmental Laboratories (BDLs), one of the four scientific units of the recently funded Early Detection Research Network (EDRN). The EDRN is a national infrastructure funded to discover, develop, and validate biomarkers for risk assessment, detection, and molecular diagnosis and prognosis of early cancer. BDLs are responsible for the discovery, development, characterization, and testing of new, or the refinement of existing, biomarkers and biomarker assays for risk assessment, detection, and molecular diagnosis and prognosis of cancers.

The existing BDLs are primarily focused on ovary and gastrointestinal cancers. The proposed BDLs (to be supported under this funding opportunity) should be focused on one or more of the following cancers: breast, prostate and other genitourinary organs, or lung. In addition, cancers with rapidly rising incidence rates, e.g., endometrial, hepatocellular, kidney, thyroid, oropharyngeal cancers, and/or cancers with unique etiology, e.g., mesothelioma, will be considered.

The newly funded units of the Early Detection Research Network will be announced later in April. Successful applicants have already been notified. Those researchers who were not successful during the last round of applications are encouraged to apply to this opportunity.