A simple blood test reliably predicts the development of liver cancer – healing practice

Benefits of a blood test to diagnose cancer

Many adults and children in Germany suffer from it non-alcoholic fatty liver. This disease can cause chronic inflammation and liver damage and more Increases the risk of liver cancer. A new simple blood test reliably predicts which people with non-alcoholic fatty liver are most likely to develop liver cancer.

In a new study involving experts from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centers So-called hepatic transcriptome and serum secretome signatures, which predict the long-term risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver, have been defined and validated.

The findings were published in the English-language journal Science Translational Medicine.

Fatty liver disease widespread in Germany

According to German Liver Foundation Fatty liver disease (fatty liver disease) is a frequent symptom, for which a distinction is made between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFL) and alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFL).

Usually drive one combination of several factors to the development of fatty liver. These factors include, for example, an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, obesity, alcohol consumption, and diabetes.

Experts from the German Liver Foundation also report that around one third of adults in Germany have an enlarged liver due to fat deposits, with the number of people affected steadily increasing. Fatty liver is also common among children, and one in three children who are overweight already have fatty liver.

How is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease formed?

With non-alcoholic fatty liver there is one Excess fat in the liver cellsto who chronic inflammation and liver damage the researchers involved in the new study report.

In the new study, samples from 409 people analyzed with non-alcoholic fatty liver. So it could be a total number 133 genes it can be determined that they were expressed above or below the mean in people who developed hepatocellular carcinoma over a 15-year period.

Participants were divided into different groups based on the level of expression of these genes, depending on their level of risk. For 15 years after taking the samples he was a 22.7 percent of participants in the high-risk group HCC was diagnosed, while none of the people in the low-risk group were, the team said.

High-risk individuals can be monitored with ultrasound

According to the researchers, the newly developed test could be used to quickly and reliably identify people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease who have a high probability of developing liver cancer.

This test allows us to non-invasively determine which patients are best monitored for liver cancer through regular ultrasound scans.“Study author Dr. Yujin Hoshida of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center points out in a press release.

17 times greater risk of liver cancer from NAFL

The team also reports that studies have shown that people with non-alcoholic fatty liver have a maximum of 17 times higher risk of liver cancer to have. People with NAFL, who are at particular risk for cancer, should have a screening program that includes a screening program every six months Leberultraschall carried out, experts advise.

The new test is particularly reliable in determining which people belong to the low-risk group. “We can now say with greater certainty that these patients do not need to be monitored very closely“, relationships Doctor Hoshida.

Role of inflammation in liver cancer

For most of the genes and proteins they turn out to be predictive of the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma proved, according to the team, these were the so-called Immune and inflammatory molecules.

This indicates the Role of inflammation in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma outside, experts explain.

How can the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma be reduced?

Levels of the molecules could be altered in combination with therapies known to reduce liver inflammation and the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma. Researchers cite bariatric surgery, cholesterol medications, and immunotherapy as examples.

This means that we could use these clusters of molecules to monitor how patients are doing over time or to inform the potential effectiveness of medical interventions in reducing the risk of liver cancer.“, has explained Doctor Hoshida.

For example, there is a protein blood test called PLSec-NAFLDwhich is already being used to monitor the effectiveness of a cholesterol drug for reducing liver cancer risk in an ongoing clinical trial, the researchers report.

The team now plans to further investigate the usefulness of PLSec-NAFLD in larger groups of people around the world. Researchers believe that this will also be possible in the future develop blood teststhan that Risk of cancer in other serious liver diseases such as hepatitis B and alcoholic liver disease can result. (how)

Information on the author and source

This text corresponds to the requirements of the specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by medical professionals.


  • Naoto Fujiwara, Naoto Kubota, Emilie Crouchet, Bhuvaneswari Koneru, Cesia A. Marquez, et al .: Molecular signatures of long-term hepatocellular carcinoma risk in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; in: Science Translational Medicine (veröffentlicht 22.06.2022), Science Translational Medicine
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center: Molecular Signatures of Long-Term Hepatocellular Carcinoma Risk in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (veröffentlicht 22.06.2022), UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • German Liver Foundation: Inflammation of the fatty liver (steatohepatitis) – the most common liver disease in Germany (accessed 23 June 2022), German Liver Foundation

Important note:
This article contains general advice only and is not to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.

About the author


Leave a Comment