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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2006 Jul-Sep;7(3):460-2.

Hepatocellular carcinoma and its early detection by AFP testing in Mongolia.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Center for Biotechnology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Health Sciences University, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.


Liver cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in Mongolia. Since 1982-1986 , when HCC became the most frequent cancer among the Mongolian population, the rate has been increasing continuously. In the period 2000-2005 years 35.3%of all newly registered cancer cases were liver cancers, with an incidence rate of 51.3 per 100,000 population. Compared to the previous 5 year period, the rate increased by 11%. The objective here was to analyze hepatitis B (HBV) and C virus (HCV)-related HCC cases and to evaluate the possibility of tumor marker (AFP) testing for early detection in Mongolia. Sera from a total of 513 patients with chronic liver diseases, liver cirrhosis and HCC were analyzed for liver function (ALAT, ASAT) and hepatitis virus markers (HBsAg, anti-HCV). Sera from 316 patients were also examined for alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels. The overall incidence of HBsAg or anti-HCV were very high ( 95.3%) among all patients. Some 33.5% (66/197) of patients with HCC were positive for HBsAg and 45.2% (89/197) for anti-HCV. Moreover, 17.3% ( 34/197) of HCC patients demonstrated co-infection with HBV and HCV. AFP levels were elevated in 4.6% (11/238) and 29.5% (23/78) of chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis patients, respectively. In HCC cases, 84.3% (166) of patients had increased level of AFP ranging from 32 ng/ml to more than 400 ng/ml. We conclude that HBV/HCV infection is the main factor related to development of HCC in Mongolia and that testing for AFP serum levels is a useful tool for early detection and diagnosis.

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