ANALYSIS THE ALPHA-PROTEIN LEVEL IN HEPATITIS PATIENT AS AN AID IN ACCESSING THE DEGREE IN WHICH IT GENERATES TO HCC
CHAPTER ONE 1.0 INTRODUCTION
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common primary liver cancer. It accounts for 60% of all cancer worldwide (Melissa 2004). The most significant cause is the presence of cirrhosis. HCC has unique geographic sex, age distribution that is likely determined by specific etiology factors. Its distribution also varies among ethnic groups within the same country (Munoz 1989). A high incidence of hepatitis B and C may have been an important factor contributing to the development of liver disease (HCC and Cirrhosis) in southeastern Nigeria. However, a recent trend that reveals an increase in cases of liver cirrhosis and hepatitis in our environment suggests that there could be other contributory factors peculiar to our environment besides hepatitis B and C which could be a possible explanation for the recent trend. In so doing, it would be necessary to look into the various predisposing/causative factors of chronic hepatitis which could lead to increased cases of liver cirrhosis and HCC in our environment. The risk of developing HCC differs depending on the cause of cirrhosis. For example, cirrhosis due to hepatitis B has a high risk of leading to HCC while the risk of HCC in people with a primary biliary cirrhosis, although present is very low. All these human hepatitis viruses are RNA viruses except for the hepatitis B virus, which is a DNA virus. Although these viruses can be distinguished by their molecular and antigenic properties, all types of viral hepatitis produce clinically similar illnesses. These range from asymptomatic and unapparent to fulminant and fatal acute infections common to all types, on one hand, and from subclinical persistent infections to rapidly progressive liver disease with cirrhosis and even hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), common to the blood-borne types (HBV and HCV). Without a specific virological test, it is not possible to determine which hepatitis virus is responsible for a case of hepatitis. (Kathleen park et al., 2004).