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Hepatogastroenterology. 1999 May-Jun;46(27):1842-7.

Serum hepatocyte growth factor before and after resection for hepatocellular carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei.



Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is the most potent hepatocyte proliferation stimulator. Serum HGF levels are high in various liver disease states such as cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and hepatitis. But the role HGF plays in HCC is not clear at present. The purposes of this study are: 1) to reveal the HGF profile pre- and post-HCC resection, which has not been well-described before; and, 2) to analyze the relationships between the pre- and post-operative HGF levels and various clinical parameters.


We performed a retrospective cohort study to check the HGF profiles before and after curative resections for HCC and to analyze the relationships between them by using clinical parameters from 35 consecutive patients at the Department of Surgery, National Taiwan University Hospital. Blood samples collected from another 23 healthy individuals admitted for health check-ups were used as normal controls. Serum HGF was determined with an ELISA kit.


The baseline HGF concentration in HCC patients was significantly higher than that in normal controls (1743+/-73 vs. 948+/-54 pg/ml, p<0.0001). The HGF concentrations on post-operative days (POD) 1, 3, 5, 7, and 14 were all significantly higher than those seen in normal controls (all p less than 0.0001). The first and third POD HGF values were significantly higher than the pre-operative level (p=0.00135 and 0.00187 respectively). The HGF concentrations would return to the pre-operative level on the fifth POD, but they never returned to normal level at the end of the two-week study. The pre-operative HGF level was affected by patient age (p=0.0236), and the post-operative peak HGF level was positively correlated with the pre-operative indocyanin green retention rate (ICGR15) and GOT level (p=0.0320 and 0.0234 respectively).


In this study, we proved, indirectly, that HGF was not secreted by the HCC tumor cells per se. The peak post-operative HGF level reflected the relative stress of the operation on the diseased liver, but did not reflect the absolute physical extent of liver resection. The relationships between HGF and the prognosis of the patients after HCC resection demands further investigation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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