Background: The prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is closely related to the diagnostic stage. Due to the difficulty diagnosing early-stage HCC, most patients with HCC are diagnosed at the advanced stage. In this study, we used protein induced by vitamin K absence or antagonist-II (PIVKA-II) and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) combined with aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and total bilirubin (T-Bil) to establish a novel diagnostic model for early-stage hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related HCC.
Methods: The serum levels of PIVKA-II, AFP, AST, ALT, and T-Bil were measured in 148 patients with early-stage HBV-related HCC and 940 patients with chronic hepatitis B. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to verify the diagnostic efficacy of the novel diagnostic model for early-stage HBV-related HCC.
Results: The mathematical model of [1.5 x PIVKA-II/(AST x T-Bil) + AFP/(ALT x T-Bil)] was selected as the novel diagnostic model. The areas under ROC curves (AUROCs) of the novel diagnostic model for detecting early-stage HBV-related HCC were significantly higher than those of PIVKA-II, AFP, and PIVKA-II combined with AFP (HCC ≤ 5 cm: 0.925 vs. 0.826, 0.666, and 0.821; HCC < 3 cm: 0.896 vs. 0.741, 0.651, and 0.765, respectively) (all p < 0.001). Using serum levels of AFP ≥ 20 ng/mL, the diagnostic model had the highest AUROC values of 0.960 and 0.933 for HCC ≤ 5 cm (89 cases) and HCC < 3 cm (40 cases), respectively, with a sensitivity of 83.15%, and 77.50% and specificity of 95.34% and 90.69%, respectively.
Conclusions: The novel diagnostic model is superior to PIVKA-II and AFP for diagnosing early-stage HBV-related HCC, especially in patients with abnormal serum AFP levels.