Background: We previously reported the effectiveness of the modified Cancer of the Liver Italian Program (CLIP) score in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) staging. To determine the best predictive staging system for HCC patients, we conducted a comparative analysis of prognosis using multivariate analysis in 230 Japanese HCC patients following hepatic resection.
Methods: We compared overall survival as predicted by different staging systems: the tumor node metastasis (TNM) system by the Liver Cancer Study Group of Japan, the Japan Integrated Staging (JIS) score (Japanese TNM and Child-Pugh classification), the modified JIS score using liver damage grade, the CLIP score, and our modified CLIP score using protein induced by vitamin K absence or the antagonist II (PIVKA-II).
Results: By a univariate analysis the PIVKA-II level (cut-off level, 400 mAU/ml) was significantly associated with patient survival (P = 0.031); however, alpha-fetoprotein level was not related to survival. Liver damage grade was significantly associated with patient survival (P = 0.039), although Child-Pugh classification was not related to survival. Univariate analysis showed that prediction of survival, according to disease stage, was better with the modified JIS score than with the TNM system, CLIP, modified CLIP, or JIS score. Multivariate analysis showed the modified JIS score showed the best ability to predict overall survival according to disease stage (Hazard ratio, 1.77; P = 0.002), and its Akaike information criteria statistic was the lowest (634.3).
Conclusions: The modified JIS score, a staging system that combines tumor factors and hepatic function, is a better predictor of prognosis than other systems in HCC patients who have undergone hepatic resection.