Can we use HCC risk scores to individualize surveillance in chronic hepatitis B infection?

J Hepatol. 2015 Sep;63(3):722-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2015.05.019. Epub 2015 May 27.


Chronic hepatitis B is one of the leading causes of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) worldwide. Accurate prediction of HCC risk is important for decisions on antiviral therapy and HCC surveillance. In the last few years, a number of Asian groups have derived and validated several HCC risk scores based on well-known risk factors such as cirrhosis, age, male sex and high viral load. Overall, these scores have high negative predictive values of over 95% in excluding HCC development in 3 to 10 years. The REACH-B score was derived from a community cohort of non-cirrhotic patients and is better applied in the primary care setting. In contrast, the GAG-HCC and CU-HCC scores were derived from hospital cohorts and include cirrhosis as a major integral component. While the latter scores may be more applicable to patients at specialist clinics, the diagnosis of cirrhosis based on routine imaging and clinical parameters can be inaccurate. To this end, recent developments in non-invasive tests of liver fibrosis may further refine the risk prediction. The application of HCC risk scores in patients on antiviral therapy and in other ethnic groups should be evaluated in future studies.

Keywords: Cirrhosis; HBV DNA; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Transient elastography.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / etiology*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Genotype
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / complications*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Risk


  • DNA, Viral