Comparison of surgical outcomes for small hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with hepatitis B versus hepatitis C: a Chinese experience

Qiang Li, Huikai Li, Yu Qin, P Peter Wang, Xishan Hao
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2007, 22 (11): 1936-41

BACKGROUND: Although both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are well recognized risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), little is known with respect to how HBV and HCV infection affect HCC recurrence in postoperative HCC Chinese patients. The objective of this study was to determine if differences exist in preoperative characteristics and postoperative HCC recurrence in patients with different HBV and HCV infection status.

METHODS: The study population consisted of 413 patients undergoing a curative resection at Tianjin Cancer Hospital for small HCC (< or =3 cm) from January 1997 to December 2003. The patients were divided into four groups: HCV only (n = 75), HBV only (n = 251), HBV and HCV (n = 33), and neither HBV nor HCV (NBNC, n = 54). The preoperative status and postoperative HCC recurrence were recorded. Survival analyses were used to assess the impact of HBV/HCV status on HCC recurrence.

RESULTS: Patients with HCV had a significant association with older age, lower mean preoperative platelet counts and albumin levels, higher mean prothrombin time, alanine aminotransferase and total bilirubin levels and multinodular tumors during diagnosis. Patients with HCV also had significantly less differentiated tumors and a higher incidence of vascular invasion and cirrhosis when compared to the other groups. During the follow-up, the HCV group showed a higher incidence of intrahepatic recurrence and multiple recurrent lesions than the other patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with HCV infection tended to be older, and were characterized by more severe cirrhosis and higher incidence of tumor multicentricity. The statistically significant determinants for reoccurrence in patients with small HCC were HCV infection, presence of vascular invasion and multiple tumors.

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