Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
BACKGROUNDS & AIMS:
Intrahepatic recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after radiofrequency ablation (RFA) occurs as a result of direct dissemination or de novo oncogenesis. Hepatocellular carcinogenesis is related to the progression of cirrhosis, and noninvasive fibrosis scoring systems reflect the severity of hepatic fibrosis. Hence, the aim of this study was to elucidate the correlation between noninvasive fibrosis indices and intrahepatic distant recurrence (IDR) of HCC after RFA.
Patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related, solitary HCC undergoing RFA were prospectively enrolled. Noninvasive serum fibrosis indices were calculated at the time of RFA. IDR was defined as recurrent HCC beyond >2 cm from the ablation margin of RFA. Predictors of IDR and overall survival were analysed by a Cox regression model.
Two hundred forty-six patients received RFA as initial treatment, and the median follow-up duration was 19.7 months (IQR, 11.9-29.8). Among these cases, 133 (45.9%) showed IDR after RFA. In multivariable analysis, serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) (HR, 1.000; 95% CI, 1.000-1.001; P = 0.001) and age-platelet index (API) (1.19; 1.01-1.39; P = 0.033) were independent predictors of IDR. In particular, patients with API ≤7 showed a significantly higher recurrence-free survival rate than patients with API >7 (P = 0.004). With regard to overall survival, male sex (4.69; 1.52-14.52; P = 0.007), serum bilirubin (2.78; 1.31-5.90; P = 0.008) and AFP (1.000; 1.000-1.001; P = 0.006) were significantly correlated with shortened survival.
High levels of AFP and API predict IDR of HBV-related HCC after RFA. Therefore, noninvasive fibrosis indices could play an important role in predicting IDR of HCC following percutaneous ablation.