Leptin in relation to hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with liver cirrhosis

Horm Res. 2003;60(4):185-90. doi: 10.1159/000073231.


Objectives: This study was conducted to investigate whether leptin is involved in the etiogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in cirrhotic patients.

Methods: Thirty-one male cirrhotic patients with HCC, 26 male cirrhotic patients without HCC, and 25 control subjects were included in this study. Body fat mass (FM) was determined by bioelectrical impedance analysis, and serum leptin and hormone concentrations were measured by immunoassay.

Results: A significant correlation of serum leptin levels to FM was observed in both patient groups and control subjects (r = 0.760, p < 0.001; r = 0.520, p < 0.01; r = 0.460, p < 0.05, respectively). The serum leptin levels in cirrhotic patients with or without HCC were significantly higher than those in control subjects (6.0 +/- 1.1 vs. 6.1 +/- 0.6 vs. 3.8 +/- 0.3 ng/ml, p < 0.05), though their body FM was lower. Using a multiple logistic regression analysis, it was found that the odds ratio of serum leptin for HCC was 1.04 (95% CI 0.79-1.33) after adjustment of several known risk factors.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that cirrhotic patients with or without HCC had increased serum leptin concentrations. However, leptin did not appear to be associated with the development of HCC in cirrhotic patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / blood*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio


  • Leptin