7395021 tn?1394075927

Tumor marker

I am svr for 12 months. Had an MRI last week which came back clear. I have compensated cirrhosis. Just got blood test results which shows my timer marker level to be 6.6. Do I need to be alarmed?
3 Responses
446474 tn?1446347682
Hi and welcome to the cirrhosis community.

I am glad to hear that you are SVR and have stopped the progress of your liver disease which by the way also decreases the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Although the risk is still higher than in someone who has never had cirrhosis so continued surveillance is warranted.

If you mean your alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood test result was 6.6 ng/mL that is close to a normal level and is no need to be concerned. That your MRI was normal is also a good indication of no HCC.

Note that the AFP blood test alone, is never used to diagnose HCC as not all HCC tumors produce AFP (40% don't!) and AFP levels can rise from other conditions besides cancer. The combination of AFP and liver ultrasound or other imaging studies (such as a CT or MRI) performed every 6 months in those with a higher than normal risk of developing HCC is associated with early detection of HCC and a reduction in risk of death from HCC.

Note: AFP level can also be raised by other cancers and even inflammation of the liver. A rise from inflammation of the liver is sometimes seen in people with active hepatitis C infection where the inflammation of the liver cause by the injury of the virus can raise the AFP level. But the level will usually not be in the hundreds of ng/mL and will not be rising over time to ever higher levels as is usually seen in the presents of HCC. A recent study suggested that the variability of AFP values over time, determined by the standard deviation of AFP, may be more useful for detecting early HCC than the value of AFP itself  A typical pattern seen when HCC is present is a continuing rising AFP level through the hundred or thousands as the cancer grows.

HCC biomarkers such as AFP (and sometimes AFP-L3, DCP, SNPs) are used for predicting the risk for HCC development, screening and surveillance, diagnosis, stratifying patients for targeted therapy, monitoring treatment response, and predicting HCC recurrence and patient survival. AFP remains a useful HCC biomarker for the diagnosis, monitoring treatment response and predicting recurrence and patient survival and be biomarkers are currently being studied to further help in the early detection of HCC when HCC is most treatable.

I hope this answers your question.
7395021 tn?1394075927
Thank you Hector. I just got those results today on line and have not heard from my doctor. Actually I just had an ultrasound and MRI within the last 2 weeks and they were. It makes me feel better that that is not an absolute. Thanks for being here for all! I know I will hear from my doc soon.
Avatar universal
Almostsixty my levels were not that far from yours and I believe in the 5.9 range if I'm not mistaken.  Hector knows his stuff and obviously it's not something to be concerned about.  The good news is that since you are monitoring your levels and should they trend upward, you can literally stop the Cancer in its tracks.  That's why follow-up scans are advisable if down the road something shows up you can treat it early.
Honestly I wouldn't be concerned, but again it's smart to question and be diligent not only with our livers but overall health.
Good Luck
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