Is there a risk of liver cancer? Expert advice

Is there a risk of liver cancer? Expert advice
Is there a risk of liver cancer? Expert advice

Gamma GT is a specific liver disease marker that can be used to screen for certain types of liver cancer. However, a high gamma GT is not automatically a sign of cancer and, conversely, some liver cancers do not cause an increase in the level of gamma GT.

In fact, if a high gamma GT undoubtedly directs towards a liver disorder, it does not, on its own, make it possible to know its nature, and requires additional examinations to identify a potential liver cancer.

Liver cancer, what is it?

Liver cancer is a rare malignant tumor that develops from the cells of the liver organ. There are different types of liver cancer, and secondary cancers, caused by metastases from other cancerous tumours, are the most common.

Among primary liver cancers, hepatocellular carcinoma (or hepatocarcinoma) is by far the most common (90% of cases). It develops from hepatocytes, cells that make up almost all of the liver, essential for the proper functioning of the organ. In most cases, hepatocellular carcinoma sets in from pre-existing lesions, very often correlated with alcohol consumption.

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Gamma GT, what is it?

Gamma GT, or gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase, is an enzyme present in the membranes of certain organs in the human body, such as the kidneys, spleen, pancreas, brain and, of course, the liver. An enzyme is a protein with certain properties. Gamma GT, in this case, acts as a catalyst by acting on the transfer of amino acids across the cell membrane.

It also has a role in the metabolization of certain compounds (leukotrienes, glutathione, L-amino acids, peptides, etc.), and fully participates in the body’s detoxification process. When liver tissue is damaged, gamma GT can leak into the blood, and its presence in the blood system can be revealed by biochemistry.

Explanatory video on the Gamma GT

Although present in other organs, gamma GT is a specific marker of liver disorders, and its elevation primarily points to liver injury or disease. On the other hand, measuring the level of gamma GT in the blood does not make it possible to diagnose the cause of the anomaly – it happens that some patients present with high levels of gamma GT, without any liver disease.

In the event of high gamma GT, it is therefore necessary to carry out more in-depth examinations to detect possible cancerous attacks and to treat them as soon as possible.

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The risks of high gamma GT

A high GT gamma is not automatically correlated with liver cancer – far from it. In fact, excessive alcohol consumption is the first cause of elevation of gamma GT in the blood. While this may, at first glance, seem less severe than cancer, it should be noted that excessive alcohol consumption is a highly predisposing factor for liver cancer.

In addition, liver cancer is not necessarily the most serious of liver damage: alcoholic cirrhosis can, on its own, lead to the complete destruction of the liver, a process that is unfortunately fatal in the long term (the liver being a vital organ).

It would therefore be a mistake to sigh with relief on learning that the elevation of one’s gamma GT is correlated with alcohol consumption, and not with liver cancer. This remains a strong alarm signal, to be taken care of as soon as possible with your doctor to avoid complications – cancerous or not.

A high gamma GT can also correspond to an overweight which exhausts the liver, as well as viral hepatitis – a relatively widespread disease. All these situations can usually be taken care of medically, and absolutely deserve to be so as not to cause complications favoring the appearance of cancerous lesions.

If, ultimately, primary cancerous tumors of the liver are rare, they almost always take advantage of pre-existing damage to develop, and it is therefore by preventing these damages, or by treating them as soon as possible, that we can reduce effectively the risks of liver cancer.

A high gamma GT is not synonymous with liver cancer, but it is a warning signal that must be taken into account to look for possible liver pathology and/or prevent the onset of liver disease. It should also be noted that the gamma GT enzyme is present in other organs, and that the analysis of its activity can reveal heart and pancreatic disorders, or even hyperthyroidism.

The article is in French

Tags: risk liver cancer Expert advice

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