Department of Surgery, Institute of Health Biosciences, The University of Tokushima Graduate School, Tokushima, Japan.
Aim: Lens culinaris agglutinin A-reactive fraction of α-fetoprotein (AFP-L3) status has been reported to be an independent prognostic factor in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study, we evaluated the clinical usefulness of measuring preoperative AFP-L3 to predict the recurrence and prognosis of HCC after curative hepatectomy.
Methods: One hundred and forty-two HCC patients who underwent curative hepatectomy were examined for the correlation between preoperative tumor marker, including AFP, des-γ-carboxy prothrombin (DCP) and AFP-L3, and clinicopathological variables. The prognostic factors of disease-free survival rates and overall survival rates were also determined using clinicopathological variables including these three tumor markers.
Results: There were similar tendencies in the relationship between these three markers and malignant behaviors including lower grade tumor differentiation or vascular invasion. In multivariate analysis, increased AFP-L3 value (P = 0.019) was found to be an independent prognostic factor of disease-free survival after curative hepatectomy. In addition, elevated DCP (P = 0.013) and AFP-L3 values (P = 0.012) were found to be independent prognostic factors. Furthermore, the preoperative AFP-L3 value in the patients with early recurrence (within 1 year after hepatectomy) was significantly higher than that in those without early recurrence (26.9 ± 19.5 % vs 14.2 ± 19.8 %, P = 0.047).
Conclusion: Preoperative AFP-L3 value was strongly correlated to disease-free and overall survival rate and the timing of recurrence, so it appears that it would be useful to predict the recurrence and prognosis of HCC after curative hepatectomy.