Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan ; Faculty of Medicine, Cancer Research Center, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan ; Institute of Clinical Medicine, Cancer Research Center, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Whether or not hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes, mutations, and viral loads determine outcomes for patients with HBV-induced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains controversial.
To study the influence of HBV viral factors on prognoses for patients with HBV-induced HCC after resection surgery and investigate if antiviral therapy could counteract the adverse effects of viral factors.
A total of 333 HBV-related HCC patients who underwent tumor resection were enrolled retrospectively. Serum HBV DNA levels, mutations, anti-viral therapy, and other clinical variables were analyzed for their association with post-operative recurrence.
After a median follow-up of 45.9 months, 208 patients had HCC recurrence after resection. The 5-year overall survival and recurrence-free survival rates were 55.4% and 35.3%, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed indocyanine green retention rate at 15 minutes >10%, gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) level >60 U/L, macroscopic and microscopic venous invasion, and the absence of anti-viral therapy were significant risk factors for recurrence. Anti-viral therapy could decrease recurrence in patients with early stage HCC, but the effect was less apparent in those with the Barcelona-Clinic Liver Cancer stage C HCC. For patients without antiviral therapy after resection, serum HBV DNA levels >106 copies/mL, GGT >60 U/L, and macroscopic and microscopic venous invasion were significant risk factors predicting recurrence. Among the 216 patients without anti-viral therapy but with complete HBV surface gene mapping data, 73 were with pre-S deletion mutants. Among patients with higher serum HBV DNA levels, those with pre-S deletion had significantly higher rates of recurrence. Moreover, multivariate analysis showed multi-nodularity, macroscopic venous invasion, cirrhosis, advanced tumor cell differentiation, and pre-S deletion were significant risk factors predictive of recurrence.
Ongoing HBV viral replication and pre-S deletion are crucial for determining post-operative tumor recurrence. Anti-viral therapy can help reduce recurrence and improve prognosis, especially for those with early stage HCC.