Research Papers:

Changes of alpha-fetoprotein levels could predict recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma survival after trans-arterial chemoembolization

Chao He, Xiaoyun Zhang, Chuan Li, Wei Peng, Tian-Fu Wen _, Lv-Nan Yan, Jiayin Yang and Wusheng Lu

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:85599-85611. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20343

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Chao He1,*, Xiaoyun Zhang1,*, Chuan Li1, Wei Peng1, Tian-Fu Wen1, Lv-Nan Yan1, Jiayin Yang1 and Wusheng Lu1

1Department of Liver Surgery and Liver Transplantation Center, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan Province, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Tian-Fu Wen, email: [email protected]

Keywords: recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma, trans-arterial chemoembolization, alpha fetoprotein change, prognosis, hepatectomy

Received: February 27, 2017     Accepted: July 18, 2017     Published: August 18, 2017


Background: There is paucity of information concerning whether AFP change is a predictor of prognosis for recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma (RHCC) patients after trans-arterial chemoembolization (TACE).

Methods: A total of 177 RHCC patients who received TACE as first-line therapy were retrospectively analyzed. The patients were classified into three groups according to their pre-TACE and post-TACE AFP levels (group A: AFP decreased, group B: AFP consistent normal, and group C: AFP increased). The recurrence to death survival (RTDS) and overall survival (OS) were estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method, and compared by the log-rank test. Multivariate analyses were performed to identify prognostic factors for OS and RTDS.

Results: There was no significant difference among the three groups concerning the baseline characteristics. The median overall survival (OS) was 74.5 months in group A (95% confidence interval (CI): 63.5, 85.6), 64.0 months in group B (95% CI: 52.3, 75.7) and 29.0 months in group C (95% CI: 24.1, 33.9; P<0.001). The median recurrence to death survival (RTDS) was 66.5 months (95% CI: 53.4, 79.6) in group A, 50.4 months (95% CI: 39.5, 61.4) in group B and 17.7 months (95% CI: 13.4, 22.1; P<0.001) in group C. Multivariate analysis revealed that tumor size at resection stage, tumor number at recurrent stage, cycles of TACE, mRECIST response and AFP change after TACE were significant independent risk factors for RTDS and OS.

Conclusions: AFP change could predict the prognoses of patients with RHCC who received trans-arterial chemoembolization, which may help clinicians make subsequent treatment decision.

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