BACKGROUND & AIMS - Mitochondrial isoenzyme of creatine kinase (MtCK) is reportedly highly expressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Clinical relevance of serum MtCK activity in patients with HCC was assessed using a novel immuno-inhibition method.
METHODS - Among patients with cirrhosis caused by hepatitis B or C virus, 147 patients with HCC (12 with the first occurrence and 135 with recurrence) and 92 patients without HCC were enrolled.
RESULTS - Serum MtCK activity was higher in cirrhotic patients with HCC than in those without HCC or healthy subjects. Elevated serum MtCK activity in HCC patients decreased after radiofrequency ablation. In case of prediction of HCC, MtCK had a sensitivity of 62.6% and a specificity of 70.7% at a cut-off point of 8.0 U/L, with an area under the receiver operating curve of 0.722 vs. 0.713 for alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and 0.764 for des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin (DCP). Among the HCC patients, serum MtCK activity was elevated in 52.9% individuals with serum AFP level < 20 ng/ml and 63.2% individuals with serum DCP level < 40 mAu/ml. Even in patients with a single HCC ≤ 2 cm, the sensitivity of serum MtCK activity for the prediction of HCC was 64.4%, which was comparable to the overall sensitivity. This increased activity was due to an increase in ubiquitous MtCK, not sarcomeric MtCK, and the enhanced mRNA expression of ubiquitous MtCK was observed in cell lines originating from HCCs in contrast to healthy liver tissues.
CONCLUSIONS - Serum MtCK activity merits consideration as a novel marker for HCC to be further tested as for its diagnostic and prognostic power.
Copyright © 2012 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.