Background/aims: Recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) following surgical resection is influenced by parameters detectable on the resection specimen or through a biopsy. The prognostic significance of HCC doubling time (DT) after surgery has never been investigated.
Methods: We evaluated 62 patients who underwent curative resection of a single HCC on cirrhosis; tumors were assessed before surgery on two subsequent occasions with the same imaging technique allowing the calculation of DT. The influence of tumor DT, clinical and pathological parameters on recurrence-rate and patients survival was assessed with uni- and multivariate analysis. Relationship between DT and pathological features was also analyzed.
Results: Three-year recurrence rate was 32.3% (20 patients): this was significantly higher in the presence of DT shorter than 100 days (58 versus 18% when equal to or longer; P=0.008), microvascular invasion (59 versus 17% when absent; P=0.008) or tumor undifferentiation (54 versus 25% when well/moderately differentiated; P=0.015). DT was the only independent predictor of recurrence (P=0.005). Patients survival was affected by Child-Pugh class only. DT was significantly shorter in tumors with microvascular invasion (P=0.007), undifferentiation (P=0.003) and high alpha-fetoprotein levels (P=0.011).
Conclusions: DT is easy to estimate and indicates the prognosis of single HCCs prior to liver resection.