Prognostic value of red blood cell distribution width in hepatocellular carcinoma

Hemant Goyal, Zhi-De Hu
Annals of Translational Medicine 2017, 5 (13): 271
Red blood cell distribution width (RDW) is a simple, inexpensive, routinely measured and automatically reported blood test parameter, which reflects the degree of anisocytosis of red blood cells in peripheral blood. RDW was found to be associated with and retain clinical significance for assessing disease severity and outcomes in a number of hematological and solid malignancies. Motley of interacting clinical and biochemical factors have an impact on the red cell population biology. Malignancies per se can act as a causative factor, or anisocytosis may develop as a result of chronic inflammation. RDW has also been shown to be affected by nutritional status, which is typically deranged in malignancies. RDW is shown to be a clinically useful marker of disease severity and level of fibrosis in liver cirrhosis of various causes such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Whether liver cirrhosis patients with higher RDW are at increased risk of hepatocellular cancer is yet to be determined, but several lines of evidence confirm that RDW has clinical significance in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this review, we specifically discuss the current literature about the association between RDW and HCC. The available evidences were summarized and the potential underlying mechanisms were analyzed.

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