Purpose: Serum γ-glutamyltranspeptidase (GGT) level, which is often elevated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), has now been found to be an oxidative stress marker which correlates with inflammation in the extracellular hepatic microenvironment. The aim of this study was to investigate the prognostic significance of GGT serum levels in patients undergoing radiofrequency ablation (RFA) therapy for the treatment of HCC.
Methods: This retrospective study included 254 patients with small liver cancer (tumor of ≤5 cm in diameter and nodule of ≤3 cm) who had been treated with RFA. Baseline serum GGT was examined before therapy, and overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival were evaluated by the Kaplan-Meier method. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to analyze the significance of GGT and other serum markers as prognostic factors.
Results: After a median follow-up of 27 months, 51 patients had died and 123 had hepatic recurrence. After treatment with RFA, HCC patients with elevated GGT had a shorter OS versus those with normal GGT level (p = 0.001); they also had higher recurrence (p = 0.001). On multivariate analysis, albumin (p = 0.003), GGT (p = 0.035), and tumor size (p = 0.027) were independent risk factors for survival, and GGT (p = 0.010) and tumor size (p = 0.026) were significant risk factors for recurrence.
Conclusions: Serum GGT is a convenient prognostic biomarker related to OS and recurrence in HCC patients undergoing RFA treatment.