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Am J Surg. 2001 Sep;182(3):298-304.

Correlation of serum basic fibroblast growth factor levels with clinicopathologic features and postoperative recurrence in hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Surgery, Centre for the Study of Liver Disease, University of Hong Kong Medical Centre, Queen Mary Hospital, 102 Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China.



Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is an important positive regulator of tumor angiogenesis. This study evaluated the role of serum bFGF as a biological marker of tumor invasiveness and postresection recurrence in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


Concentrations of bFGF in preoperative serum samples in 88 patients undergoing resection of HCC were measured by a quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. A single pathologist performed histopathologic examination of all tumor specimens. All patients were prospectively monitored for tumor recurrence.


The preoperative serum bFGF levels ranged from <0.22 to 71.2 pg/mL (median 10.8 pg/mL). There was significant correlation between high serum bFGF levels and large tumor >5 cm, presence of venous invasion or advanced pTNM stage. Patients with a serum bFGF level >10.8 pg/mL had worse disease-free survival than those with a level <10.8 pg/mL (median disease-free survival 11.2 versus 20 months, P = 0.044). Serum bFGF level >10.8 pg/mL (P = 0.035) and tumor size >5 cm (P = 0.004) were independent preoperative factors that predicted early recurrence after resection of HCC.


This study supports a role of bFGF in tumor growth and invasion in HCC. A high preoperative serum bFGF level appears to be predictive of invasive tumor and early postoperative recurrence. The clinical implications of serum bFGF level in HCC warrant further investigation.

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