Tumor Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp 3881–3886 | Cite as

Arginase-1 is a more sensitive marker than HepPar-1 and AFP in differential diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma from nonhepatocellular carcinoma

  • Wei Sang
  • Wei Zhang
  • Wenli Cui
  • Xinxia Li
  • Gulinar Abulajiang
  • Qiaoxin Li
Research Article


Distinguishing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) from metastatic tumors is a challenging issue, especially in differential diagnosis between poorly differentiated HCC and metastasis tumors. Expression of Arg-1, HepPar-1, and α-fetoprotein (AFP) in 78 cases of HCC, 34 cases of metastatic tumors, and 228 cases of nonhepatocellular tumors of surgical specimens is measured by immunohistochemistry. Arg-1 immunoreactivity was detected in 75 of 78 (96.1 %) cases of HCC, whereas HepPar-1 and AFP immunoreactivity was detected in 63 of 78 (80.7 %) and 40 of 78 (51.3 %) cases of HCC, respectively. HepPar-1 and AFP expression was observed in three of 34 (8.8 %) cases and one of 34 (2.9 %) cases of metastatic tumors, respectively. In contrast, Arg-1 expression was absent in all 34 (0 %) cases of metastatic tumors. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of Arg-1 in distinguishing HCC from metastatic tumors and nonhepatocellular tumors are 96.1, 99.6, 98.7, and 98.8 % compared with 80.7, 92.0, 75.0, and 94.1 % for HepPar-1 and 51.3, 97.7, 87.0, and 87.1 % for AFP, respectively. Arg-1 is a more sensitive and better specific marker for HCC compared with HepPar-1 and AFP, indicating that Arg-1 can be easily applied in distinguishing HCC from metastatic tumors.


Arg-1 HepPar-1 AFP Hepatocellular carcinoma 



This study was supported by Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Science and Technology Supporting Project (NO. 201291172 and NO. 201233142), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NO. 81460513)

Conflicts of interests


Author contributions

WS and QL conceived and designed the experiments. WZ and WC performed the experiments. GA and XL analyzed the data, WS and QL wrote the paper.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOC 27 kb)
13277_2014_3030_MOESM2_ESM.doc (32 kb)
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13277_2014_3030_MOESM3_ESM.doc (35 kb)
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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Sang
    • 1
  • Wei Zhang
    • 1
  • Wenli Cui
    • 1
  • Xinxia Li
    • 1
  • Gulinar Abulajiang
    • 1
  • Qiaoxin Li
    • 1
  1. 1.The Department of PathologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical UniversityUrumqiPeople’s Republic of China

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