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How echinoccocosis affects potential cancer markers in plasma: galectin-3, sN-cadherin and sE-cadherin? a preliminary report

Joanna Giebultowicz1*, Malgorzata Polanska-Plachta2, Piotr Wroczynski1, Piotr Zaborowski3 and Jerzy A Polanski2

Author affiliations

1 Department of Bioanalysis and Drugs Analysis, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University of Warsaw, 1 Banacha Street, Warsaw PL-02097, Poland

2 Second Department of General Vascular Oncology Surgery, Medical University ofWarsaw, 19/28 Stępińska Street, Warsaw PL-00739, Poland

3 Department of Gastroenterology, Cardiology and Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Warmia and Mazury, a 30 Warszawska Street, Olsztyn PL-10082, Poland

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Citation and License

Diagnostic Pathology 2012, 7:17  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-7-17

Published: 18 February 2012



An increasing number of publications are suggesting that galectin-3 (Gal-3) and soluble cadherin fragments, such as E-cadherin (sE-CAD) and N-cadherin (sN-CAD), may be considered as cancer markers. Despite the promising results of the studies, there are no data concerning their levels in the plasma of echinococcosis patients. In most cases, echinoccocosis affects the liver, and its symptoms and disease course are very similar to those of liver cancer. The aim of the present study was to observe whether echinococcosis affects the concentration of soluble sN-CAD, sE-CAD fragments and Gal-3 in plasma and to determine which of them could be considered reliable liver cancer markers for further research.


The concentrations of sN-CAD, sE-CAD and Gal-3 in the EDTA plasma of patients suffering from echinococcosis (N = 20), liver cancers (N = 10) and healthy subjects (N = 20) were measured using the ELISA method.


The plasma concentration of sE-CAD was lower (p = 0.0381), and that of Gal-3 higher (p = 0.0288), in echinococcosis than in the healthy group. However, only the concentration of sE-CAD differed significantly among the three analysed groups. In echinococcosis there was a correlation between the sE-CAD and CRP levels (rs = 0.79; p = 0.0066) as well as a correlation between the sE-CAD level and the number of leukocytes (rs = 0.65; p = 0.0210) in the blood.


Echinococcosis affects the concentration of soluble sE-CAD fragments and Gal-3 in plasma. sE-CAD can be considered as a marker for differentiation between liver cancer and echinoccocossis, a parasitic liver disease similar in symptoms. Further study is required to confirm these preliminary results.

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Echinococcosis; N-cadherin; E-cadherin; Galectin-3; Liver cancer