A meta-analysis of single HCV-untreated arm of studies evaluating outcomes after curative treatments of HCV-related hepatocellular carcinoma

Liver Int. 2017 Aug;37(8):1157-1166. doi: 10.1111/liv.13357. Epub 2017 Feb 1.


Background & aims: Determining risk for recurrence or survival after curative resection or ablation in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is important for stratifying patients according to expected outcomes in future studies of adjuvant therapy in the era of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). The aims of this meta-analysis were to estimate the recurrence and survival probabilities of HCV-related early HCC following complete response after potentially curative treatment and to identify predictors of recurrence and survival.

Methods: Studies reporting time-dependent outcomes (HCC recurrence or death) after potentially curative treatment of HCV-related early HCC were identified in MEDLINE through May 2016. Data on patient populations and outcomes were extracted from each study by three independent observers and combined using a distribution-free summary survival curve. Primary outcomes were actuarial probabilities of recurrence and survival.

Results: Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria. Pooled estimates of actuarial recurrence rates were 7.4% at 6 months and 47.0% at 2 years. Pooled estimates of actuarial survival rates were 79.8% at 3 years and 58.6% at 5 years. Heterogeneity among studies was highly significant for all outcomes. By univariate meta-regression analyses, lower serum albumin, randomized controlled trial study design and follow-up were independently associated with higher recurrence risk, whereas tumour size and alpha-foetoprotein levels were associated with higher mortality.

Conclusions: This meta-analysis showed that recurrence risk and survival are extremely variable in patients with successfully treated HCV-related HCC, providing a useful benchmark for indirect comparisons of the benefits of DAAs and for a correct design of randomized controlled trials in the adjuvant setting.

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma; prognosis; recurrences; survival.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / virology
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy
  • Liver Neoplasms / virology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology*