Source 1] Division of Experimental Medicine, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London W12 0HS, UK  Division of Internal Medicine, Universitá degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Novara, Italy.
Background:There is increasing evidence that the presence of an ongoing systemic inflammatory response is a stage-independent predictor of poor outcome in patients with cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate whether an inflammation-based prognostic score, the prognostic nutritional index (PNI), is associated with overall survival (OS) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Methods:All patients with a new diagnosis of HCC presenting to the Medical Oncology Department, Hammersmith Hospital between 1993 and 2011 (n=112) were included. Demographic and clinical data were collected. Patients in whom the combined albumin (g l(-1)) × total lymphocyte count × 10(9) l(-1) was 45, at presentation, were allocated a PNI score of 0. Patients in whom this total score was <45 were allocated a score of 1. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify clinicopathological variables associated with OS. Independent predictors of survival identified on multivariate analysis were validated in an independent, stage-matched cohort of 68 patients.
Results:Univariate analyses showed that PNI (P=0.003), intrahepatic spread (P<0.001), the presence of extrahepatic disease (P=0.006), portal vein thrombosis (P=0.02), tumour multifocality (P=0.003), alfa-fetoprotein >400 ng ml(-1) (P<0.001) and Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer score (P<0.01) were all predictors of OS in the training set. Multivariate analysis revealed the PNI (P=0.05), presence of extrahepatic disease (P<0.001) and degree of intrahepatic spread (P<0.001) as independent predictors of worse OS in this population. The PNI retained independent prognostic value in the validation set (P<0.001).
Conclusion:The presence of a systemic inflammatory response, as measured by the PNI, is an independent and externally validated predictor of poor OS in patients with HCC.