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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 402394, 6 pages
Research Article

Increased Porphyrins in Primary Liver Cancer Mainly Reflect a Parallel Liver Disease

1Department of Medicine, Göteborg University, Sahlgren's University Hospital, SE-41685 Göteborg, Sweden
2Department of Pathology, Göteborg University, Sahlgren's University Hospital, SE-41345 Göteborg, Sweden

Received 31 October 2008; Revised 17 August 2009; Accepted 20 August 2009

Academic Editor: Gianfranco D. Alpini

Copyright © 2009 Jerzy Kaczynski et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hepatic porphyries have been associated with an increased risk of primary liver cancer (PLC), which on the other hand may cause an increased porphyrin production. To evaluate the role of an underlying liver disorder we analyzed porphyrins in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) , cholangiocellular carcinoma , or suspected PLC, which turned out to be metastases or a benign disorder . None of the patients had a family history of porphyry or clinical signs of porphyry. Increased aminolevulinic acid or porphyrin values were common not only in patients with PLC (43%) but also in metastatic (50%) and benign (64%) liver disorders. The corresponding proportion for HCC patients with liver cirrhosis (55%) was higher than in those without cirrhosis (17%). We conclude that symptomatic porphyries are unusual in PLC, whereas elevated urinary and/or faecal porphyrins are common, primarily reflecting a parallel liver disease and not the PLC.