Aim: To define whether the patterns of intrahepatic recurrence after resection for hepatocellular carcinoma differ according to hepatitis viral status.
Methods: One hundred and eleven patients undergoing a curative resection for hepatocellular carcinoma were divided into three groups: the C-viral group (n=55), which tested positive for hepatitis C antibody; the B-viral group (n=32), which tested positive for hepatitis B surface antigen; and the non-B non-C (NBNC) group (n=24), which tested negative for both hepatitis B surface antigen and hepatitis C antibody. The long-term outcomes were analyzed retrospectively.
Results: The pattern of development of intrahepatic recurrence differed between the NBNC group and the other groups: the cumulative probability of intrahepatic recurrence reached a plateau at 2.4 years after resection in the NBNC group, while it continued to increase steadily in the hepatitis viral groups. The C-viral group showed a higher incidence of intrahepatic recurrence than the other groups by univariate (P=0.0306) and multivariate (relative risk=1.69, P=0.0429) analyses. Multiple intrahepatic recurrent lesions were more common in the C-viral group (P=0.0457).
Conclusions: Multicentric carcinogenesis in the remnant liver was less common in the NBNC group than in hepatitis viral groups. Hepatitis C virus infection is a significant risk factor for intrahepatic recurrence after resection and is also associated with multiple intrahepatic recurrent lesions.