Background

The effects of overweightness and weight loss on the development and prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain unclear. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the impact of overweightness and weight loss on the survival of patients with intermediate/advanced HCC receiving chemoembolization as initial treatment.

Methods

We examined 1,170 patients who underwent chemoembolization as initial treatment for Barcelona-Clínic Liver Cancer stages B and C HCC at Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center (Guangzhou, China) between December 2009 and May 2015. A baseline body mass index (BMI) of ≥23 kg/m2 was defined as overweight, and body-weight loss of ≥5.0% from baseline was defined as critical weight loss (CWL). Cox regression analysis was used to determine the association between overweightness or CWL and overall survival (OS).

Results

The median survival time was 16.8 (95% confidence interval, 13.9–19.7) months and 11.1 (95% confidence interval, 10.0–12.2) months in the overweight and non-overweight groups (log-rank test, P <0.001), respectively. Cox multivariate analysis identified overweightness as an independent protective prognostic factor for OS (P <0.001). Subgroup stratification analysis revealed a significant association between overweightness and survival among patients receiving further treatment (P =0.005), but not in those not receiving further treatment (P =0.683). Multivariate analysis showed that both overweightness and CWL were independent prognostic factors for OS among patients receiving further treatment.

Conclusion

Among patients with intermediate- or advanced-stage HCC initially treated with chemoembolization, overweightness was associated with longer OS. Furthermore, CWL was an independent adverse prognostic factor for OS in patients receiving additional treatment.

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