Objectives: Although the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is higher than in patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related HCC in Japan, the long-term prognosis and prognostic factors of HCV-related HCC after hepatic resection are poorly understood.
Methods: The surgical outcome of HCV-related HCC in 172 consecutive patients who underwent hepatic resection between 1989 and 1997 was retrospectively clarified. Postresection prognostic factors were evaluated by univariate and multivariate analysis using Cox's proportional hazards model.
Results: The overall incidence of postoperative complications was 23.2%, and 11 patients among that group had hospital deaths (6.4%) including 9 (5.2%) operative deaths. The mean and median overall survivals including hospital death after surgery were 41 months and 33 months, respectively. The 3-, 5-, and 7-yr overall survival rates after hepatic resection were 63%, 52%, and 47%, respectively. The 3-, 5-, and 7-yr disease-free survival rates after hepatic resection were 33%, 20%, and 15%, respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed that serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) of > or = 1000 ng/ml and the presence of vascular invasion were independent unfavorable prognostic factors affecting overall survival and that AFP of > or = 1000 ng/ml was an independently significant factor of poor disease-free survival.
Conclusions: We found the postresection survival of patients with HCV-related HCC should be stratified by the high value of AFP and the presence of vascular invasion. AFP may be the most powerful predictor of the long-term prognosis and recurrence in such patients.