AFP ratio predicts HCC recurrence after liver transplantation

Christine Koch, Theresa Bette, Oliver Waidmann, Natalie Filmann, Christopher Schrecker, Jörg Trojan, Nina Weiler, Johannes Vermehren, Andreas A. Schnitzbauer, Wolf Otto Bechstein, Stefan Zeuzem, Eva Herrmann (+2 others)
2020 PLoS ONE  
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a leading indication for liver transplantation (LT) worldwide. Early identification of patients at risk for HCC recurrence is of paramount importance since early treatment of recurrent HCC after LT may be associated with increased survival. We evaluated incidence of and predictors for HCC recurrence, with a focus on the course of AFP levels. We performed a retrospective, single-center study of 99 HCC patients who underwent LT between January 28th, 1997 and May
more » ... 1th, 2016. A multi-stage proportional hazards model with three stages was used to evaluate potential predictive markers, both by univariate and multivariable analysis, for influences on 1) recurrence after transplantation, 2) mortality without HCC recurrence, and 3) mortality after recurrence. 19/99 HCC patients showed recurrence after LT. Waiting time was not associated with overall HCC recurrence (HR = 1, p = 0.979). Similarly, waiting time did not affect mortality in LT recipients both with (HR = 0.97, p = 0.282) or without (HR = 0.99, p = 0.685) HCC recurrence. Log10-transformed AFP values at the time of LT (HR 1.75, p = 0.023) as well as after LT (HR 2.07, p = 0.037) were significantly associated with recurrence. Median survival in patients with a ratio (AFP at recurrence divided by AFP 3 months before recurrence) of 0.5 was greater than 70 months, as compared to a median of only 8 months in patients with a ratio of 5. A rise in AFP levels rather than an absolute threshold could help to identify patients at short-term risk for HCC recurrence post LT, which may allow intensification of the surveillance strategy on an individualized basis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0235576 pmid:32614912 fatcat:p4t5fvm2wfdklg26lju2bx2o2m