Background: The clinical significance of changes in serum human hepatocyte growth factor (hHGF) in patients having hepatectomy remains unclear, partly because of various perioperative factors, such as underlying diseases and surgical procedures.
Study design: Human hepatocyte growth factor was measured preoperatively and then on postoperative days 1, 3, 5, and 7. In 49 (79 percent) of 62 patients studied, serum hHGF increased postoperatively and peaked on postoperative day 1 or 3 (group 1), while in the other 13 patients (21 percent), it decreased on postoperative day 1 (group 2).
Results: The preoperative clinical parameters were comparable between the two groups except for indocyanine green retention rate at 15 minutes (16.6 compared with 23.4 percent; p < 0.05). Operative stress and histology of the nontumorous portion of the liver were also comparable between the two groups. Postoperatively, alanine aminotransferase was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 on postoperative days 1 and 3. Regeneration of the remnant liver one month after hepatectomy was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 (5 +/- 9 percent compared with -6 +/- 8 percent; p < 0.01). The incidence of postoperative hepatic failure was significantly higher in group 2 than in group 1 (15 compared with zero percent; p < 0.05).
Conclusions: These observations led to the thesis that changes in serum hHGF levels after hepatectomy are an indicator of hepatic regeneration and also will serve as one factor to predict postoperative hepatic failure.