The team identified the factors involved in the prognosis of patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
The findings of the trial were reported in the journal Cancer.
The study included 74 patients with HBV-associated HCC who were admitted to Nagasaki University Hospital between 1983 and 1998.
Of these, 13 patients underwent surgical tumor resection and 43 patients received non-surgical treatment with transcatheter arterial embolization, percutaneous ethanol injection, or both.
The remaining 18 patients were followed without any active treatment.
The significance of a number of factors was evaluated using univariate and multivariate analyses. These included the patient's age, gender, history of blood transfusion, and alcohol use.
Serum levels of alanine aminotransferase, alpha-fetoprotein, and HBV-DNA, the number and size of liver tumors, clinical stage, and histologic diagnosis of HCC were also assessed.
| Low level of viremia associated with longer survival.
The authors found that 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year post-diagnosis cumulative survival rates were 36%, 21%, and 17%, respectively.
Multivariate analysis identified the level of serum HBV-DNA and tumor size at diagnosis as independent and significant prognostic factors.
In addition, a low level of viremia was found to be associated with longer survival, even in patients who were negative for the hepatitis B e antigen.
Katsumi Eguchi, of the Nagasaki University School of Medicine, said on behalf of fellow colleagues, "The results of the current study suggest that viral load is a useful prognostic marker for HBV-related HCC."
"Furthermore, HCC patients with a less favorable course appear either to clear the virus poorly or to have a greater level of virus production," it was concluded.