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Clin Chim Acta. 2013 Aug 23;423:105-11. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2013.04.026. Epub 2013 May 2.

Reevaluation of glypican-3 as a serological marker for hepatocellular carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Diagnostics, Shanghai Cancer Institute, Renji Hospital,Shanghai Jiao-Tong University School of Medicine, 2200-25 Xietu Road, Shanghai 200032, China.



Glypican-3 (GPC3) is a novel histochemical marker of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, its utility as a serologic marker for HCC is not conclusive.


A total of 1037 subjects, including 155 patients with HCC, 180 with chronic hepatitis, 124 with liver cirrhosis, 442 with non-HCC cancer and 136 healthy controls, were analyzed for serum GPC3 (sGPC3) by an ELISA constructed with 2 monoclonal antibodies.


The average level of sGPC3 in HCC patients was 99.94±267.2ng/ml, which was significantly higher than in patients with chronic hepatitis (10.45±46.02ng/ml, P<0.0001), liver cirrhosis (19.44±50.88ng/ml, P=0.0013), non-HCC cancer (20.50±98.33ng/ml, P<0.0001) and healthy controls (4.14±31.65ng/ml, P<0.0001). The sensitivity of sGPC3 in HCC diagnosis was 40.0%, whereas the specificity was 98.5%, 94.4% and 87.1% in healthy controls, chronic hepatitis patients and liver cirrhosis patients, respectively. In addition, 13.5% (28/207) of lung cancer patients and 13.2% (9/68) of thyroid cancer patients had positive results with sGPC3.


Serum GPC3 is a potential marker for HCC. However, the presence of sGPC3 in patients with lung cancer and thyroid cancer might limit its application as a single marker in the diagnosis of HCC.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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