To investigate the diagnostic potential of AEG-1 and GPC-3 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
AEG-1 and GPC-3 immunohistochemistry were performed on HCC, adjacent nontumor tissue (ANT), and dysplastic nodules (DN).
H score of AEG-1 or GPC-3 in HCC was significantly higher than in ANT or DN. In HCC, 92% and 54% showed AEG-1 and GPC-3 positivity, respectively. In ANT, 16.2% were AEG-1 and 7.6% GPC-3 positive. AEG-1 staining was mostly diffuse, whereas GPC-3 frequently showed focal staining. AEG-1 alone showed high sensitivity but low specificity and accuracy. GPC-3, on the other hand, showed high specificity but low sensitivity and accuracy. Combination of both stains boosted the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy to 94.6%, 89.5%, and 90.5%, respectively, when only diffuse staining was considered as positive.
AEG-1 or GPC-3 alone seemed not an ideal marker for HCC. The combination of AEG-1 and GPC-3 might improve early diagnosis of HCC.