Aim: To evaluate changes in liver function parameters and risk factors 1 year after percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) therapy in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Methods: Subjects in this retrospective study comprised 45 patients with HCC who underwent RFA therapy (RFA alone, n = 25; transcatheter arterial embolization therapy before RFA, n = 20) and showed no recurrence of HCC 1 year after RFA. Serial changes in serum total bilirubin, albumin, prothrombin time and Child-Pugh score (CPs) were evaluated before and after RFA. In addition, Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was used to clarify risk factors for aggravation of liver function after RFA therapy.
Results: Serum albumin levels showed a significant decrease from before (3.6 +/- 0.4 g/dL) to 12 months after RFA therapy (3.2 +/- 0.4 g/dL; P <= 0.05). CPs was significantly increased from before (6.4 +/- 1.4) to both 6 months (6.8 +/- 1.9; P <= 0.05) and 12 months after RFA (6.9 +/- 2.0; P <= 0.05). Based on stepwise multivariate analysis, CPs of 9 or more before RFA was selected as a significant risk factor for long-term aggravation of liver function after RFA.
Conclusion: Liver function parameters, particularly serum albumin level, gradually and dominantly decreased in HCC patients with grade B and C according to the CPs classification over the course of 1 year after RFA therapy. A CPs of 9 or more represents a major risk factor for the aggravation of liver function after RFA therapy.