Impact of cirrhosis aetiology on incidence and prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma diagnosed during surveillance

Nathalie Ganne-Carrié, Pierre Nahon, Cendrine Chaffaut, Gisèle N’Kontchou, Richard Layese, Etienne Audureau, Sylvie Chevret
J Hep reports octobre 2021

Background & aims: In this study we aimed to analyse the impact of the aetiology of cirrhosis on the incidence, characteristics and prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) diagnosed during a surveillance program.

Methods: Individual data from a randomized trial and 2 prospective cohorts of patients with compensated histologically proven cirrhosis recruited between 2000 and 2016 were pooled. The influence of cirrhosis aetiology on survival after HCC detection was assessed using multivariable regression models.

Results: Among 3,533 patients (1,926 virus [VIR], 1,167 alcohol [ALC], 440 combined [MIX]), 431 were diagnosed with HCC after a median follow-up of 57.1 months. The 5-year HCC incidence was lowest in ALC (VIR 12.6%, ALC 9.1%, MIX 14.3%, p = 0.04). At the time of diagnosis, tumour burden and Child-Pugh score were comparable across aetiology groups, but early BCLC stages (0/A) were significantly less frequent in ALC (VIR 80%, ALC 37%, MIX 72%) as a result of worse ECOG performance status. However, similar access to first-line curative HCC treatment was reported across aetiology groups (p = 0.68). Median survival after HCC diagnosis was significantly reduced in ALC (VIR 39, ALC 21, MIX 34 months, p = 0.02). However, when adjusting for tumour size, ECOG and Child-Pugh score, the aetiology of the underlying cirrhosis no longer had a significant impact.

Conclusion: Compared to patients with virus-related cirrhosis, patients with alcohol-related compensated cirrhosis enrolled in a surveillance program have: i) the lowest 5-year HCC incidence; ii) worse overall prognosis, mostly driven by a poor general condition, despite similar access to first-line curative treatment

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