Liver fibrosis is a major risk factor for liver regeneration: A comparison between healthy and fibrotic liver

Yiliyaer Aierken, Ling-Xiang Kong, Bo Li, Xi-Jiao Liu, Su Lu, Jia-Yin Yang
Medicine (Baltimore) 2020 May 29, 99 (22): e20003

BACKGROUND: Blood flow factors, such as congestion or ischemia after hepatectomy, have a significant impact on liver regeneration, but with the popularization of precise hepatectomy technology, segmental hepatectomy without congestion or ischemia has become the preferred treatment. Our aim is to investigate the factors affecting liver regeneration after hepatectomy without blood flow changes, and to provide clinical evidence for surgeons on the timing of second hepatectomy for cirrhosis patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

METHODS: This study retrospectively analyzed data from patients who underwent right hepatectomy without middle hepatic vein (MHV) in West China Hospital between January 2016 and January 2018. Eighteen living-donors without MHV as normal group and 45 HCC patients, further classified into 3 subgroups based on the severity of fibrosis using the Scheure system. Demographic data, pre- and postoperative liver function indexes, and remnant liver volume (RLV) were retrospectively compared. We also analyzed the remnant liver regeneration rate (RLRR) post-operatively in each group. The significant indexes in univariate analysis were further analyzed using both receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis and multivariate regression analysis.

RESULTS: Liver regeneration occurred in both living-donor and HCC groups after hepatectomy; the RLRRs at 1 month were 59.46 ± 10.39% and 57.27 ± 4.77% (P = .509), respectively. Regeneration in the cirrhosis group occurred more slowly and less completely compared with that in other groups. The regeneration rate in the first 6 months showed rapid increase and the RLRR reached above 70% in cirrhosis group. Multivariate and ROC analyses revealed that Alb and the hepatic fibrosis grade in the early postoperative period were significant predictors of remnant liver regeneration.

CONCLUSION: The liver regenerated in all HCC patients; however, regeneration was significantly slower and less complete compared with the normal liver, especially in the patients with cirrhosis. Therefore, it can be concluded that the degree of liver fibrosis is a major predictor of liver regeneration. Furthermore, the optimal time for second resection in recurrent HCC patients with cirrhosis was 6 months after the first operation.

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