About 30% of the patients with chronic hepatitis develop a progressive liver disease.
One of the most intriguing issues is the detection of noninvasive markers for fibrosis stage, and disease progression.
High levels of squamous cell carcinoma antigen-immunoglobulin M are detectable in hepatocellular carcinoma, and their increase in cirrhotic patients can predict tumor development.
|Squamous cell carcinoma antigen-immunoglobulin M complexes were detectable in 33% of patients|
|Journal of Viral Hepatitis|
Squamous cell carcinoma antigen-immunoglobulin M can also be detectable at low percentages in patients with chronic hepatitis.
Dr Biasiolo and colleagues from Italy assessed squamous cell carcinoma antigen-immunoglobulin M complexes in relation to disease outcome in this group of patients.
The team used an ELISA assay to determine the presence of squamous cell carcinoma antigen-immunoglobulin M in 188 patients with chronic hepatitis, and in 100 controls.
An additional serum sample was available after a median period of 6 years in 57 untreated patients.
These patients were subdivided into 2 groups.
Group 1 included 8 patients with a fibrosis score increase of 2 in a second liver biopsy.
Group 2 included 49 patients without fibrosis progression during a similar follow up.
The doctors found that squamous cell carcinoma antigen-immunoglobulin M complexes were detectable in 33% of patients but in none of the controls.
The team of doctors observed a significant increase of squamous cell carcinoma antigen-immunoglobulin M levels over time in patients with fibrosis progression.
However, no significant increase of squamous cell carcinoma antigen-immunoglobulin M levels were found in those without histologic deterioration.
Dr Biasiolos' team concluded, "Monitoring squamous cell carcinoma antigen -immunoglobulin M levels over time appears a useful approach to identify patients with chronic hepatitis at higher risk for cirrhosis development."