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Ultrasound, blood test together may boost liver cancer detection

IANS  |  New York 

Earlier detection is important to improving survival of patients with liver cancer, and combining an with a blood test can help achieve that, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin.

Using and a blood test for high fetoprotein (AFP) levels together improves detection of early-stage liver significantly, said the study published in the journal Gastroenterology.

AFP is a plasma protein that is produced in abundance by the liver cells in the foetus. In adults, AFP levels are normally low, but liver can cause AFP levels to rise.

"Liver screening in patients with has traditionally been performed using an abdominal While ultrasound is readily available and noninvasive, it misses many when they are small," said Amit Singal, at the

Risk factors for -- also known as (HCC) -- include hepatitis C infection, chronic heavy alcohol consumption, and nonalcoholic related to and

Symptoms can include or swelling, loss of weight or appetite, white chalky stools, and general fatigue, the researchers said.

"Our study found that adding the blood biomarker fetoprotein increased detection of early-stage from 45 per cent with ultrasound alone to 63 per cent using the two tests in combination," Singal said.

screening guidelines for patients with vary, with some guidelines calling for just and other guidelines calling for both and AFP measurement.

"Our results support a change in clinical practice and the routine use of ultrasound and biomarkers together for screening," Singal said.

The results were based on a meta-analysis of 32 previous studies. Meta-analysis refers to a technique of combining the results of multiple scientific studies.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, February 11 2018. 13:48 IST