Research Papers:

Simple and robust diagnosis of early, small and AFP-negative primary hepatic carcinomas: an integrative approach of serum fluorescence and conventional blood tests

Ting Wang, Kun-He Zhang _, Piao-Ping Hu, Zeng-Yong Huang, Pan Zhang, Qin-Si Wan, De-Qiang Huang and Nong-Hua Lv

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:64053-64070. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11771

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Ting Wang1, Kun-He Zhang1, Piao-Ping Hu1, Zeng-Yong Huang1, Pan Zhang1, Qin-Si Wan1, De-Qiang Huang1, Nong-Hua Lv1

1Department of Gastroenterology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Jiangxi Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Nanchang 330006, China

Correspondence to:

Kun-He Zhang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: primary hepatic carcinoma, early diagnosis, AFP-negative hepatoma, diagnostic model, serum fluorescence

Received: June 11, 2016     Accepted: August 26, 2016     Published: August 31, 2016


The diagnosis of early, small and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)-negative primary hepatic carcinomas (PHCs) remains a significant challenge. We developed a simple and robust approach to noninvasively detect these PHCs. A rapid, high-throughput and single-tube method was firstly developed to measure serum autofluorescence and cell-free DNA (cfDNA)-related fluorescence using a real-time PCR system, and both types of serum fluorescence were measured and routine laboratory data were collected in 1229 subjects, including 353 PHC patients, 331 liver cirrhosis (LC) patients, 213 chronic hepatitis (CH) patients and 332 normal controls (NC). The results showed that fluorescence indicators of PHC differed from those of NC, CH and LC to various extents, and all of them were not associated with age, gender, or AFP level. The logistic regression models established with the fluorescence indicators alone and combined with AFP, hepatic function tests and blood cell analyses were valuable for distinguishing early, small, AFP-negative and all PHC from LC, CH, NC and all non-PHC, with areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves 0.857–0.993 and diagnostic accuracies 80.2–97.7%. Conclusively, serum autofluorescence and cfDNA-related fluorescence are able to be rapidly and simultaneously measured by our simple method and valuable for diagnosing early, small and AFP-negative PHCs, especially integrating with AFP and conventional blood tests.

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