Internal Medicine Department, Universitary Hospital Virgen de la Victoria, Campus de teatinos S/N, 29010 Málaga, Spain. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To identify risk factors associated with the development of HCC and develop a score to identify high risk subgroups.
We conducted a follow-up study, with biannual ultrasound and alpha-fetoprotein screening, in an unselected cohort of patients with chronic hepatitis C referred for evaluation from the primary care.
863 patients with chronic hepatitis C were followed for an average of 82months. 58 patients have developed HCC (7%). 34 (4%) patients were excluded from analysis due to detection of liver cancer at first evaluation. The demographic and clinical variables collected during the first 6months of evaluation were analyzed retrospectively. Cox proportional multivariate regression analysis identified four independent factors related with HCC risk; age, alpha-fetoprotein level, gammaglobulin level and platelet count below 150,000/ml. A risk score formula (HCC-4) was constructed which lets us identify patients with low (annual incidence of 0.05%), intermediate (annual incidence of 0.6%) and high (annual incidence 2.6%) risk of HCC development with an area under the curve of 0.802.
The application of the score to the cohort let us identify a high-risk subgroup of patients with an annual HCC incidence of 2.6%, in which the screening would be cost-effective.