Changes in glycosylation, most notably fucosylation, have been associated with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this report, the levels of fucosylated kininogen (Fc-Kin) and fucosylated β-1-antitrypsin were analyzed individually and in combination with the currently used marker, α-fetoprotein, and a previously identified biomarker, Golgi protein 73 (GP73), for the ability to distinguish between a diagnosis of cirrhosis and HCC. This analysis was done on serum from 113 patients with cirrhosis and 164 serum samples from patients with cirrhosis plus HCC. The levels of Fc-Kin and fucosylated α-1-antitrypsin were significantly higher in patients with HCC compared with those with cirrhosis (P < 0.0001). Greatest performance was achieved through the combination of Fc-Kin, α-fetoprotein, and GP73, giving an optimal sensitivity of 95%, a specificity of 70%, and an area under the receiver operating characteristic of 0.94. In conclusion, the altered glycosylation of serum glycoproteins can act as potential biomarkers of primary HCC when used independently or in combination with other markers of HCC.
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