Department of Gastoroenterology and Hepatology, Ogaki Municipal Hospital, Gifu, Japan.
It has been reported that branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) supplementation can improve nutritional status and reduce liver-related complications in patients with decompensated cirrhosis. BCAA supplementation reportedly reduces the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in obese cirrhotic patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). We investigated the effects of oral supplementation with BCAA granules on hepatocarcinogenesis in patients with HCV-related cirrhosis using propensity score matching.
A total of 60 patients with HCV-related cirrhosis and without history of HCC who were selected by one-to-one matching of propensity scores: 30 patients receiving 12 g/day of BCAA granules for 3 months or more (BCAA group) and 30 being observed without BCAA supplementation (control group). The impact of BCAA supplementation was analyzed on the incidence of HCC.
The 3- and 5-year rates of HCC development were 13.7% and 13.7% in the BCAA group and 35.1% and 44.5% in the control group, respectively. The BCAA group had a significantly lower rate of HCC than the control group (P = 0.032). Multivariate analysis for factors that were associated with hepatocarcinogenesis indicated that BCAA supplementation was independently associated with a reduced incidence of HCC (hazard ratio 0.131; 95% confidence interval, 0.032-0.530; P = 0.004) along with sex and serum α-fetoprotein. Obesity (body mass index, ≥25 kg/m2 ) was not significantly associated with an increased incidence of HCC.
Oral supplementation with BCAA granules is associated with a reduced incidence of HCC in patients with HCV-related cirrhosis regardless of the presence of obesity based on the propensity score analysis.