Des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin (DCP), also known as PIVKA II (protein induced by vitamin K absence or antagonists II), is an abnormal form of prothrombin, a clotting factor produced by the liver.
By measuring the amount of DCP in the blood, the test helps evaluate whether treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a type of liver cancer, is effective.
For a person diagnosed with HCC, an increasing DPC level means that the cancer is producing this substance. In this sense, the test can be used as a tumor marker. As the test is typically ordered periodically, changes over time can also be evaluated.
- Decreasing DPC levels in a person who is being treated for HCC suggest response to treatment.
- Steady or increasing levels after treatment indicate that the treatment has not been effective.
- Increasing levels after treatment has been completed suggest recurrence of HCC.
Things you must keep in mind:
A person can have HCC even with steady or decreasing DCP. The tumor may not produce DCP or it may be small enough that it is not producing significant amounts.
Keywords: Des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin; DCP; PIVKA II; prothrombin; liver cancer