How can blood chemistry help detect diseases?

Liver cancer blood tests can test for several symptoms of liver cancerTrusted Source, including:


Liver dysfunction: Liver function tests can show signs of liver damage. This can mean a person has liver disease, including cancer or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP): AFP is found in high levels in people with cancer or liver disease or pregnancy.

Clotting problems: The liver helps make proteins that support blood clotting. A blood clotting test that shows slow blood clotting can be a sign of liver damage from cancer or other diseases.

Organ damage: Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine levels help assess how well the kidneys are working. Kidney disease can be a risk factor for, and sometimes a byproduct of, liver disease.

Other diseases: Blood tests for other diseases, such as hepatitis, may help explain symptoms of liver damage.

Other signs of disease: Changes in blood chemistry or the balance of red and white blood cells may signal serious disease, including liver cancer.

Types of blood tests

The following various blood testsTrusted Source can screen for symptoms of liver cancer:


complete blood count

A complete blood count can show signs of disease. For example, a person with cancer or infection may have higher than expected white blood cells. Your doctor may recommend additional tests based on the results of your complete blood count.


blood chemistry test

Blood chemistry tests look for changes in the balance of various chemicals in the blood. For example, an increase in calcium and a decrease in glucose may signal liver cancer.


liver function test

When the liver is damaged, it releases enzymesTrusted Source into the blood. These enzymes include alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP).


Certain liver diseases that reduce bile flow can also raise bilirubin levels in the blood. High liver enzymes, or bilirubin, indicate that a person has liver disease, such as liver cancer, but doctors need to do more tests.


Elevated rates of liver enzymes may help indicate cancer. For example, elevated ALT and AST without significantly elevated bilirubin or ALP may indicate problems with liver cells, including underlying cancer.