An Overview of Biomarkers for the Diagnosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma


avatar Mona Abu El Makarem 1 , *

Internal Medicine Department, Minia University, [email protected], Egypt

how to cite: Abu El Makarem M. An Overview of Biomarkers for the Diagnosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Hepat Mon. 2012;12(10):6122. doi: 10.5812/hepatmon.6122.



Primary liver cancer is one of the most common and deadly malignant neoplasms worldwide. The incidence and mortality rates for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are virtually identical, reflecting the poor overall survival of patients with this kind of tumor. Effective therapies mostly achieved if the HCC diagnosis is made at early stages of the tumor. Surveillance tests include serologic and radiologic examinations.

Evidence Acquisition:

In this review, an overview of biomarkers for the diagnosis of HCC and future challenges in this popular field has been presented.


Serum tumor markers, such as alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and des-gammacarboxy prothrombin (DCP) are commonly used for the surveillance, but their roles have been intensely debated despite the existence of sensitive radiologic tests. Most HCC-related cancer biomarkers are involved in chronic inflammation and cancer. These biomarkers, according to their biologic characteristics are primarily divided into three groups including onco-foetal protein, stress protein, and post-translational modification.


Because of the limitations of traditional HCC biomarkers, exploration for novel biomarkers for the diagnosis of HCC is an evolving process.

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© 2012, Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.