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Cancer. 2001 Jul 1;92(1):126-35.

Prognostic factors for survival in patients with compensated cirrhosis and small hepatocellular carcinoma after percutaneous ethanol injection therapy.

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Istituto di Medicina Interna e Geriatria, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italy.



The objective of this study was to identify clinical, biochemical, ultrasound, and/or pathologic parameters capable of predicting survival in a cohort of patients with well compensated cirrhosis and small hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who were treated with percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI).


The study group included 111 patients with Child--Pugh Class A cirrhosis and with one (93 patients) or two (18 patients) HCC nodules measuring < 5 cm in greatest dimension. All patients underwent multisession PEI. The prognostic values of pretreatment and post-treatment variables were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method.


The overall 3-year and 5-year survival rates of 62% and 41%, respectively, were not influenced by age, gender, duration of chronic hepatitis, serum albumin, prothrombin time ratio, total bilirubin, gamma-glutamyl transferase, hepatitis B surface antigen, antihepatitis C virus, HCC size, HCC ultrasound pattern, HCC histologic or cytologic grading, greatest spleen dimension, esophageal varices, or ascites. Levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) > 14 ng/mL (P < 0.006), alanine aminotransferase > 75 IU/L (P < 0.04), and aspartate aminotransferase > 80 IU/L (P < 0.009) and platelet count < 92 x 10(9)/L (P < 0.02) before treatment were independent predictors of decreased survival. Among post-treatment parameters, AFP levels 6 months after PEI > 13.3 ng/mL (P < 0.003) and HCC recurrence in another segment of the liver (P < 0.04) were linked to decreased survival in univariate analysis.


Among patients with Child--Pugh Class A cirrhosis with small uninodular or binodular HCC who are treated with multisession PEI, those with elevated serum AFP and transaminase levels and low platelet count before treatment are characterized by decreased survival. During follow-up, intrahepatic recurrence of the tumor is the main factor affecting survival.

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