Syndecan-1 is a trans-membrane heparan sulfate proteoglycan that localizes in epithelial cells and has been shown to be present in normal hepatocytes. It is thought to be involved in processes such as cell growth, differentiation and adhesion. However, the clinical data regarding syndecan-1 in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are scarce and controversial. Therefore, we need to evaluate the effects of HCC on the serum levels of syndecan-1. Thus, 40 patients with HCC and 31 patients with liver cirrhosis were physically examined. Blood samples were taken for measurements of routine markers (sGPT, sGOT, bilirubin, albumin, and α-fetoprotein), as well as serum levels of interleukin (IL)-6 and syndecan-1. Patients with liver cirrhosis showed significant increase in serum IL-6 as compared with HCC patients and the control subjects. Serum level of syndecan-1 was significantly increased in HCC patients as compared with the cirrhotic and control groups. In addition, significant positive correlations between syndecan-1 and serum levels of ALT, AST in HCC patients were found. Moreover, syndecan-1 increased significantly with increasing stage of Barcelona-Clinic Liver Cancer Group diagnostic and treatment strategy. In conclusion, the development of HCC is accompanied by a significant elevation in serum syndecan-1 levels. The increase in serum syndecan-1 may be linked with progression of HCC.
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