Chinese scientists develop early diagnosis of liver cancer for hepatitis B carriers

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BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Chinese scientists have designed a new screening method for hepatitis B carriers, to detect early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of primary liver cancer.

After rigorous clinical validation, this method is expected to become a more convenient, non-invasive and standardized early screening program for liver cancer.

According to Yan Hai, one of the researchers, the method showed 30 percent sensitivity, 94 percent specificity and 17 percent positive predictive value in the validation cohort, proving it a feasible approach to identify early stage HCC.

The new method was developed by researchers from Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Genetron Health, a biomedical company. Through a liquid biopsy that detects cell-free DNA somatic mutations in combination with protein markers, researchers can efficiently identify early-stage HCC cases of less than 3 cm.

The research was published in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research team will optimize this screening method through systematic research in a multi-center, large prospective cohort study, Yan said.