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Open Access Research article

Comparative diagnostic efficacy of serum squamous cell carcinoma antigen in hepatocellular carcinoma

Olufemi Michael Soyemi1*, Jesse Abiodun Otegbayo2, Samuel Olawale Ola3, Adegboyega Akere4 and Temitope Soyemi5

Author Affiliations

1 Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

2 Liver and Gastrointestinal unit, Department of Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria

3 Liver and Gastrointestinal Unit, Department of Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria

4 Liver and Gastrointestinal Unit, Department of Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria

5 Department of Radiology, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:403  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-403

Published: 3 August 2012

Abstract

Background

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common liver malignancy in Nigeria. Hepatitis B and C viruses, alcohol and Aflatoxin B are among the various aetiologies. More work needs to be done in the search for markers that will aid early detection of this condition as it is uniformly fatal once advanced. Alphafetoprotein (AFP) remains the most widely used tumour marker of HCC detection in spite of its known shortcomings. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of serum squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA) , in comparison to alphafetoprotein in the detection of HCC.

Method

Sixty patients with HCC and thirty apparently healthy controls attending the Medical Outpatient Department(MOPD) of the University College Hospital Ibadan(UCH) Nigeria were selected for the study. Questionnaire was used to collect clinical data while AFP, SCCA levels, serum HBsAg and anti-HCV were determined using ELISA method- (Diagnostic Automation Inc. Canada). Abdominal ultrasound scan was also done.

Result

Thirty one (51.7%) out of 60 selected cases were positive for HBsAg while six (20%) out of 30 controls were positive for HBsAg(p = 0.004). Out of the 60 cases selected for this study, only 2 (3.3.%) cases were positive for hepatitis C virus, while only 1(3.3%) out of 30 control was positive for hepatitis C virus(p = 0.74).

The mean AFP value for cases with HCC was 393.21 ng/ml ±386.97 compared to the control group which was 5.60 ± 13.03 ng/ml (p value 0.001). The mean SCCA level was 0.64 ± 0.56 ng/ml and 0.71 ± 0.65 ng/ml for cases and controls respectively (p = 0.631).

Conclusion

Alphafetoprotein remains a good tumour marker for the diagnosis of HCC. Serum squamous cell carcinoma antigen(SCCA) has no discriminatory power and may not be useful as a tumour marker for Nigerians with hepatocellular carcinoma.