Purpose: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the commonest primary cancer of the liver. Hepatic resection remains the main curative option, although the incidence of disease recurrence in the remaining hepatic parenchyma is high and accounts for the leading cause of death post resection. For this reason, the need to identify prognostic factors which may determine treatment response and survival is of paramount importance. In this study we assessed whether DNA image cytometry and Edmondson-Steiner grading could be used as prognostic factors in a cohort of patients with HCC undergoing radical hepatic resection.
Methods: Forty-four patients with HCC who underwent radical resection were retrospectively analyzed. Histological grading according to Edmondson and Steiner and DNA ploidy using DNA image cytometry, were the two parameters analyzed. Pearson's x(2) or Fisher's exact tests were used to test for any associations between categorical variables. Univariate semi-parametric Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to assess the effect of explanatory variables on death. All reported p values were based on two-sided tests and compared to a significance level of 0.05.
Results: In univariate Cox regression analysis, adverse survival outcome was strongly associated with high DNA score and advanced histological grading. Patients with ploidy score >2.2 had 3.95 times higher probability of death, as compared to those with ploidy score ≤ 2.2. Edmondson-Steiner grades III and IV were also associated with 20.49 and 34.47 higher probability of death respectively as compared to grade I.
Conclusion: Our results validate the prognostic significance of DNA image cytometry and Edmondson-Steiner grading following curative resection of HCC.