Background

Post-operative recurrence rates are high for hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study aimed to explore the factors associated with post-operative 1-year recurrence rate in patients with HBV-related HCC who had a single small primary tumor (≤3 cm in diameter).

Methods

This was a retrospective study of 203 (training cohort) and 64 (validation cohort) patients newly diagnosed with HBV-related HCC who had a single small primary tumor. The first year of post-operative follow-up was examined. Factors potentially associated with HCC recurrence were identified using Cox regression analyses. A model was constructed based on the factors identified and the prognostic value of the model was evaluated using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis and calculation of the area under the ROC curve (AUC).

Results

A history of alcoholism and serum levels of α-fetoprotein, total protein and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) were independently associated with 1-year recurrence rate after surgery. A predictive model based on these four factors had an AUC of 0.711 (95% confidence interval, 0.643–0.772) in the training cohort and 0.727 (95% confidence interval, 0.601–0.831) in the validation cohort. The 1-year recurrence rate was significantly lower in the low-risk group than in the high-risk group in both the training cohort (17.0% vs. 49.5%, P <0.001) and the validation cohort (43.2% vs. 74.1%, P =0.031).

Conclusion

A history of alcoholism and serum levels of α-fetoprotein, total protein and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase were independently associated with post-operative 1-year recurrence rate in patients with HBV-related HCC who had a single small primary tumor (≤3 cm in diameter).

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