Department of Clinical Laboratory, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400010, PR China. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:
Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) has been widely used as a diagnostic marker. AFP is also increased in patients at high risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), ie those with chronic hepatitis. The percentage of lens culinaris agglutinin-reactive alpha-fetoprotein (AFP-L3%) has long been proposed as a marker for HCC, but has not been widely adopted due to inconsistent results reported in the literature. In this study, the performance of AFP-L3% is specifically evaluated for diagnosis of HCC.
A systematic review of relevant studies, the sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) for the diagnosis of HCC were pooled using random-effects models. The overall test performance was summarized using summary receiver operating characteristic (SROC) curve analysis. Potential between-study heterogeneity was explored by meta-regression model.
Twelve articles were included in this meta-analysis. The overall estimates of AFP-L3% in detecting HCC were as follows: pooled sensitivity, 0.483 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.459-0.507); pooled specificity, 0.929 (95% CI 0.916-0.940); DOR, 12.33 (95% CI 7.82-19.44); and area under the curve (AUC), 0.7564.
AFP-L3% could be complementary to AFP as a marker for HCC.