Sunday February 17, 2019

Ultrasound, Blood Test Together May Boost Liver Cancer Detection

Cancer screening guidelines for patients with cirrhosis vary, with some guidelines calling for just imaging and other guidelines calling for both imaging and AFP measurement

0
//
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 cancer can cause AFP levels to rise. Pixabay
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 cancer can cause AFP levels to rise. Pixabay

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

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

ALSO READ: All Women Can Be Screened For Cancer!

“Liver cancer screening in patients with chronic liver disease has traditionally been performed using an abdominal ultrasound. While ultrasound is readily available and noninvasive, it misses many cancers when they are small,” said Amit Singal, associate professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre.

Risk factors for this cancer — also known as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) — include hepatitis C infection, chronic heavy alcohol consumption, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease related to diabetes and obesity.

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

“Our study found that adding the blood biomarker alpha-fetoprotein increased detection of early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma from 45 percent with ultrasound alone to 63 percent using the two tests in combination,” Singal said.

ALSO READ: Research Yields Possible Blood Test for Cancer

“Our results support a change in clinical practice and the routine use of ultrasound and biomarkers together for liver cancer 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.

Next Story

Study Reveals Shorter Duration of Radiation Safe in Treating Prostate Cancer

This method is both safe and effective and could be a viable treatment option for men with low and intermediate-risk of prostate cancer, the study suggested.

0
cancer
The study showed that this type of radiation - stereotactic body radiotherapy - is a form of external beam radiation therapy, which reduces the duration of treatment from 45 days to four to five days with no evidence of causing worse toxicity in the long run. Pixabay

Men with low or intermediate-risk prostate cancer can safely undergo higher doses of radiation over a significantly shorter period of time and still have the same, successful outcomes as from a much longer course of treatment, according to researchers including one of Indian-origin.

The study showed that this type of radiation – stereotactic body radiotherapy – is a form of external beam radiation therapy, which reduces the duration of treatment from 45 days to four to five days with no evidence of causing worse toxicity in the long run.

“Most men with low or intermediate-risk prostate cancer undergo conventional radiation, which requires them to come in daily for treatment and takes an average of nine weeks to complete,” said lead author Amar Kishan, Assistant Professor at University of California, Los Angeles, in the US.

smoking
Nearly, 53 per cent men had low-risk disease, 32 per cent had less aggressive intermediate-risk disease and 12 per cent had a more aggressive form of intermediate-risk disease. Pixabay

“With the improvements being made to modern technology, we have found that using stereotactic body radiotherapy, which has a higher dose of radiation, can safely and effectively be done in a much shorter timeframe without additional toxicity or compromising any chance of a cure,” said Kishan.

For the study, the team included 2,142 men with low or intermediate-risk prostate cancer who were treated with stereotactic body radiotherapy. They were followed for a median of 6.9 years.

Nearly, 53 per cent men had low-risk disease, 32 per cent had less aggressive intermediate-risk disease and 12 per cent had a more aggressive form of intermediate-risk disease.

cancer
These are essentially identical to rates following more conventional forms of radiation, which are about 4-5 per cent for low-risk disease and 10 per cent to 15 per cent for intermediate-risk disease. Pixabay

In addition, the recurrence rate for men with low-risk disease was 4.5 per cent, 8.6 per cent for the less aggressive intermediate-risk, and 14.9 per cent for the more aggressive intermediate-risk group, findings published in the journal JAMA Network Open showed.

Overall, the recurrence rate for intermediate-risk disease was 10.2 per cent.

Also Read: Facebook to Come up with ‘Unsend’ Feature on Messenger

These are essentially identical to rates following more conventional forms of radiation, which are about 4-5 per cent for low-risk disease and 10 per cent to 15 per cent for intermediate-risk disease.

This method is both safe and effective and could be a viable treatment option for men with low and intermediate-risk of prostate cancer, the study suggested. (IANS)