Objective. The role of serum prothrombin induced by vitamin K absence or antagonist-II (PIVKA-II) in the early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has not yet been clearly identified. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of PIVKA-II, alone or in combination with alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), for the detection of HCC during surveillance, and to determine whether PIVKA-II was a significant risk factor for patient survival. Material and methods. During surveillance, 106 HCC cases and 100 non-HCC cases of chronic HBV infection were included. Sensitivity and specificity of AFP and PIVKA-II were obtained through cut-off values of 20 ng/ml and 40 mAU/ml, respectively. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to determine whether PIVKA-II would be a significant risk factor for patient survival. Results. The sensitivity rates of AFP and PIVKA-II were 57.5% (61/106) and 51.9% (55/106), respectively. Of 45 patients negative for AFP, 22 were positive for PIVKA-II. A combination of AFP and PIVKA-II increased the sensitivity to 78.3% (83/106). The specificities of AFP and PIVKA-II were 88.0% and 97.0%, respectively. PIVKA-II was not a significant risk factor for patient survival after multivariate analysis. Conclusions. PIVKA-II can be used as a tumor marker for the early detection of HCC in patients with chronic HBV infection, especially in combination with AFP.
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