Junichi Shindoh, Kiyoshi Hasegawa, Yutaka Matsuyama, Yosuke Inoue, Takeaki Ishizawa, Taku Aoki, Yoshihiro Sakamoto, Yasuhiko Sugawara, and Norihiro Kokudo, University of Tokyo; Masatoshi Makuuchi, Japan Red Cross Medical Center, Tokyo, Japan.
PURPOSEHepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been recognized as a potent risk factor for the postoperative recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, little is known about the impact of HCV viral load on surgical outcomes. The study objective was to investigate clinical significance of HCV viral load on long-term outcomes of HCC. PATIENTS AND METHODSThree hundred seventy patients who were classified as Child-Pugh class A and underwent curative liver resections for HCV-related HCC were divided into low and high viral load groups (≤ or > 5.3 log(10)IU/mL) based on the results of a minimum P value approach to predict moderate to severe activity of hepatitis; the clinical outcomes were then compared.ResultsThe 5-year recurrence-free survival rate was 36.1% in the low viral load group and 12.4% in the high viral load group (P < .001). The 5-year overall survival rate was 76.6% in the low viral load group and 57.7% in the high viral load group (P < .001). Multivariate analysis confirmed significant correlation between high viral load and tumor recurrence with a hazard ratio of 1.87 (95% CI, 1.41 to 2.48; P < .001). Subanalysis revealed that the favorable results in the low viral load group were not attributed to whether or not serologic eradication of HCV was obtained both in primary and recurrent lesions. CONCLUSIONLow HCV viral load predicts better long-term surgical outcomes in patients with HCC regardless of the serologic eradication of HCV.