Blood Tests for Liver Cancer and Liver Disease

Blood tests help doctors at the UPMC Liver Cancer Center determine:

  • Your general health
  • How well your liver works
  • Whether you have been exposed, in the past, to hepatitis B or hepatitis C, and whether the hepatitis is active

Platelet Count

A platelet count can detect liver cancer in its early stages.

A white cell count below the normal range can be a sign of an enlarged spleen (splenomegaly) and/or an increase in the blood pressure within the liver’s blood vessels (portal hypertension).

Blood Chemistries

Blood tests — known as blood chemistries — evaluate liver function, specifically:

  • Albumin levels
  • Blood creatinine levels
  • Prothrombin time
  • Transaminase levels (ALT, AST, GGTP)

Tumor Markers

Blood tests for specific tumor "markers" detect the presence of:

  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)
  • Des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin (DCP or PIVKA-2)
  • Neurotensin

DCP and neurotensin are markers (in the presence of a normal AFP) for the fibrolamellar variant of liver cancer, which often occurs in children.

Contact Us

Let us know if you have questions or concerns about your visit to the UPMC Liver Cancer Center.
 

 

 

Get directions to the Liver Cancer Center at UPMC Montefiore.

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