Clinical role of tissue and serum levels of SCCA antigen in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most frequent cancer in the world and a common occurrence in patients with liver cirrhosis in western and North American countries. Ultrasound screening is a powerful technique for HCC diagnosis, whereas the only available serologic test, alpha-fetoprotein, has poor reliability. It has been reported that the squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA) is overexpressed in HCC tissue. In our study, the expression of SCCA was investigated in tumoral and peritumoral tissues and in the serum of 52 HCC patients, as well as in the serum of 48 cirrhotic patients. The results show that SCCA expression is much stronger in the tumoral than in the peritumoral tissue of HCC. Moreover, it is also evident in metastatic nodules present in the peritumoral tissue. SCCA serum levels were significantly higher in HCC samples than in cirrhotic samples. However, no correlation was found between SCCA expression and the HCC histologic degree, nor did SCCA expression correlate with tumor size, presence of metastasis or clinical outcome. In conclusion, in HCC patients, the SCCA antigen could represent a useful marker for the detection of micro-metastasis in the tissues and for large-scale screening of serum in patients at risk.
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- Antonaci S
- Dentico P
- Giannelli G
- Lupo L
- Marinosci F
- Sgarra C