Source Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
BACKGROUND/AIMS: In 2009, the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) published the 7th edition of the hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) staging system. We investigated the prognostic value of the 7th AJCC staging system as a clinical staging system in patients with HCC.
METHODS: We retrospectively applied the 6th and 7th AJCC systems to 877 patients who were diagnosed with HCC between January 2004 and December 2006 using radiological findings and compared the performance of the AJCC systems to that of the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) system. The prognostic power was quantified using a linear trend χ(2) test and -2 log likelihood.
RESULTS: The median age was 57years and males predominated (n=701, 79.9%). There was no significant difference in survival between adjoining advanced stages of the 6th and 7th AJCC systems (⩾stage IIIA in the 6th and ⩾stage IIIB in the 7th; all p>0.05), although a significant difference between adjoining early stages was identified. The 7th AJCC system had greater prognostic power than the 6th (linear trend χ(2) test, 168.195 versus 160.293; -2 log likelihood, 7366.347 versus 7396.380), but not greater than that of the BCLC system (linear trend χ(2) test=207.013, -2 log likelihood=7320.726).
CONCLUSIONS: The 7th AJCC staging system provided better prognostic power than the 6th for patients with HCC, but not better than that of the BCLC system. Thus, the 7th AJCC staging system should be applied cautiously in patients with advanced HCC because of its low prognostic power in advanced stages.