Relevance of GGT as an indicator of liver problem

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Hello everyone,

I have recently found this website and have already started a discussion not long ago, which helped me to better understand the role of liver enzymes during a blood test. 

I have an appointment tomorrow with my GP because I had slightly raised liver enzymes since a little while (AST & ALT), and I am quite scared that this could be caused by something sinister, such as a cancer of the liver or a cirrhosis, even though I understand that this is not likely, especially considering my relatively young age (i.e. 25 years old). 

My question is linked to GGT. I have read on internet that these are enzymes that are rather specific to the liver, implying that an elevation should direct the doctor to assess in further details the liver of the individual concerned. My question is, are GGTs always or near always elevated in liver diseases such as cirrhosis or liver cancer? 

Thank you very much for your help. 

Blue M. 


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  • Posted

    I dont know very much about ggt i have pc my alk phos is a little high ggt has come down

    I did read that high ggt indicates liver disease

    I would be interested to hear comments from others

    All very confusing to me

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  • Posted

    GGT is perhaps the most sensitive indicator of alcoholic liver disease & alcoholic cirrhosis, though it can normalize even in a diseased liver after several months of recovery (no alcohol). 

    Heavy drinking will bump GGT out of range, but it should normalize swiftly within a month or two of abstinence. 

    With regular moderate drinking GGT may be right around the upper limit of normal, but should not be double or more normal range (over 100).   

    With alcoholic liver disease a second clue to be found in labs is the "De Ritis" ratio inversion, where the AST enzyme level floats over the ALT enzyme level.  When AST reaches double ALT, this is supposed to be a red flag for alcoholic disease. 

    Exercise or manual labor can bump AST higher, so avoid strenuous workouts in the days leading up to your blood draw.  

    In non-alcoholic diseases ALT often appears chronically elevated.  GGT is typically high too, but is not an indicator of chronic disease like it is with alcohol, where it often remains high even with abstinence.  

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    • Posted

      Hello BillinSD, and thank you for your answer.

      So when you say "GGT is typically high too, but is not an indicator of chronic disease like it is with alcohol, where it often remains high even with abstinence...", does that mean that in liver diseases such as cancer it will be elevated, while in diseases like chronic hepatitis (i.e. A, B, etc), it will not necessarily be elevated?   

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  • Posted

    GGT is sort of a "universal sign" of liver distress.  Do a web search for:

    Comparative Levels of ALT, AST, ALP and GGT in Liver associated Diseases

    The first result in this search has some interesting graphs on how enzymes and ALP (alkaline phosphatase) appear in labs with different manifestations of liver disease.  

    Normal GGT always good to see.  

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