A rational comparison of different serum concentrations of alpha1-fetoprotein (S-AFP) in the diagnosis of hepatoma must be made. We took data on the sensitivity and specificity of different diagnostic S-AFP concentrations from the literature and evaluated them statistically and by Bayesian analysis. In our patients (hepatoma prevalence 0.028) a sensitive diagnostic concentration (30-50 ng/ml) will misdiagnose hepatoma so often that a positive test will indicate hepatoma in only 10% of cases. A positive test at a specific diagnostic concentration (500 ng/ml) indicates hepatoma in 100% of cases and is preferable in terms of cost benefit. Although the lower concentration will diagnose a larger proportion of patients with hepatoma (74% compared with 59%) the 'costs' of excluding false positives are considerable (A$2545 per extra case with 2.5% of patients suffering significant morbidity). In western societies, where the prevalence of hepatoma is low, a higher, less sensitive but more specific diagnostic S-AFP concentration is appropriate.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.