Des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin (DCP) Test

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

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