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29-03-2016 | Treatment | Article

Long-term impact of liver function on curative therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma: application of the ALBI grade

Hidenori Toyoda, Paul Lai, James O'Beirne, Charing C Chong, Sarah Berhane, Helen Reeves, Derek Manas, Richard Fox, Winnie Yeo, Frankie Mo, Anthony WH Chan, Toshifumi Tada, Mercedes Iñarrairaegui, Arndt Vogel, Nora Schweitzer, Stephen L Chan, Bruno Sangro, Takashi Kumada, Philip Johnson


background: Application of curative therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma is crucially dependent on underlying liver function. Using the recently described ALBI grade we examined the long-term impact of liver dysfunction on survival of early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients.

methods: This cohort study comprised 2559 HCC patients from different geographic regions, all treated with curative intent. We also examined the relation between indocyanine green (ICG) clearance and ALBI score. Survival was measured from the date of treatment to the date of death or last follow-up.

results: The ALBI score correlated well with ICG clearance. Among those undergoing surgical resection, patients with ALBI grade-1 (good liver function) survived approximately twice as long as those with ALBI grade-2 (less good liver function), although more than 90% of these patients were classified as Child–Pugh (C-P) grade A. In the cohort receiving ablative therapies, there was a similar difference in survival between ALBI grade-1 and grade-2. Cox regression analysis confirmed that the ALBI score along with age, gender, aetiology and tumour factors (AFP, tumour size/number and vascular invasion) independently influenced survival in HCC patients receiving curative treatments.

conclusions: The ALBI score represents a simple approach to the assessment of liver function in patients with HCC. After potentially curative therapy, those with ALBI grade-1 survived approximately twice as long as those with ALBI grade-2. These data suggest that ALBI grade-1 patients are appropriately treated with surgical resection whereas ALBI grade-2 patients may, where the option exists, be more suitable for liver transplantation or the less invasive curative ablative therapies.

Br J Cancer 2016; 114: 744–750. doi:10.1038/bjc.2016.33


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