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Increasing Survival Rate of Liver Cancer Patients: Study on AFP Testing Frequency – Nowon Eulji University Hospital Research

Study on 180,000 liver cancer patients increases survival rate of liver cancer patients
Nowon Eulji University Hospital Professor Ahn Sang-bong’s team presents research

It has been shown that the higher the frequency of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) testing in patients with chronic liver disease, the higher the survival rate.

A team led by professors Sang-Bong Ahn and Joo-Hyeon Oh of the Department of Gastroenterology at Nowon Eulji University Hospital analyzed the ‘effect of AFP test frequency on the survival rate of liver cancer patients’ and announced it on the 29th.

The research team examined the National Health Insurance Service’s database of 185,316 people diagnosed with liver cancer between 2008 and 2018.

As a result, it was confirmed that when AFP tests were performed more than 4 times in the 2 years before being diagnosed with liver cancer, the relative survival rate increased by 6% as the number of tests increased by 1 (hazard ratio = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.940-0.947) , p < 0.001).

In particular, the improved survival rate was more evident in patients suffering from hepatitis B before liver cancer diagnosis. Compared to the patient group tested less than 3 times in 2 years, the 2-year survival rate and 5-year survival rate of the patient group tested more than 6 times within 2 years increased by more than 20%, and 55.6% of them received a curable liver transplant or liver transplant. underwent resection.

Professor Sangbong Ahn (Division of Gastroenterology) said, “This study not only proved that the AFP test is a useful screening test for hepatocellular cancer, but also confirmed that it improves accessibility to treatments such as early detection of hepatocellular cancer and liver transplantation.” He added, “Regular follow-up tests have a higher survival rate.” He emphasized, “As it is an important factor in increasing the quality, it should become a necessity, not an option.”

For patients with liver cirrhosis and chronic viral hepatitis over the age of 40, the cost of abdominal ultrasound and AFP testing is supported during national screening.

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a substance produced in the liver or gastrointestinal tract of the fetus. This is a protein that increases when the liver is damaged and does not appear often in normal adults. Due to these characteristics, it was used as one of the screening tests to diagnose hepatocellular carcinoma when it exceeds a certain level.

In particular, periodic AFP testing has been recommended for patients with chronic liver disease, including hepatitis B patients who are at high risk of developing liver cancer.

However, due to a lack of research on increasing survival rates, recent European and American guidelines have not actively recommended alpha-fetoprotein as a screening tool for hepatocellular carcinoma. Patients also did not recognize the importance of follow-up tests.

This study was published in the January 2024 issue of Cancers, a SCIE-level medical journal.

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2024-02-29 06:31:38

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