Background: Previous studies suggest that serum hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) level may be a useful diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for various tumors. We investigated the utility of plasma HGF level measurements in diagnosing periampullary cancer (PAC).
Methods: Of the patients enrolled in this pilot study (n = 118), 57 had PAC, 21 had benign pancreatic tumor (BPT), 20 had chronic pancreatitis (CP), and 20 were healthy controls. Plasma HGF was measured with ELISA kits. It was measured again at 10 days and 1, 2, 3, 6, and 12 months after pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD).
Results: Plasma HGF levels were significantly higher in PAC patients than in BPT patients, CP patients, or healthy controls. When a cutoff value of 1,120 pg/ml was used, 48/57 (84%) patients with PAC were positive for elevated HGF, but only 6/20 (30%) of patients with CP and none of the controls or patients with BPT were positive for elevated HGF. After PD, HGF levels were significantly elevated at day 10.
Conclusions: Plasma HGF level discriminates well between PAC and other, benign diseases. Therefore, HGF measurement could be a useful addition to the existing array of diagnostic tools for PAC pancreatic cancer. The higher postoperative value may reflect the stress of surgery.
2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.