Validation of The Hong Kong Liver Cancer Staging System in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma after Curative Intent Treatment

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Thammasat University, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand.

2 Chulabhorn International College of Medicine,Thammasat University, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand.


Backgrounds: Recently Hong Kong Liver Cancer (HKLC) staging system has been proposed for staging of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and has been shown to provide better prognostic ability than the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) system. However, the HKLC system lacks external validation, and its applicability remains uncertain. The present study was aimed to evaluate the prognostic performance of HKLC in HCC patients treated with curative intent. Methods: Medical records of HCC patients treated with either resection or radiofrequency ablation (RFA) from 2011 to 2016 were retrospectively reviewed. The overall survival and the prognostic ability of the HKLC and BCLC system were evaluated. Results: 79 HCC patients were included, of which 64.56% had Child A cirrhosis. Chronic viral hepatitis B infection was the leading cause of HCC, followed by chronic viral hepatitis C infection, alcohol and alcohol with HBV or HCV infection. According to the BCLC system, 82.28% were in stage 0-A, and according to the HKLC system, 93.67% were in stage I-IIb. RFA and liver resection were the primary treatment in 56.96% and 43.04%, respectively. The 5-year survival rate of patients in HKLC stage I, IIa and IIb were 81.64%, 61.66%, and 54.42%, respectively (P<0.001). Whereas, the 5-year survival rate of patients in BCLC stage 0, A and B were 60.00%, 75.90%, and 26.65%, respectively (P=0.053). The AUROC curve of the HKLC and BCLC for the entire cohort was 0.77 and 0.64, respectively (P=0.15). Subgroup analysis showed the AUROC curve of the HKLC and BCLC for the patients with viral-associated HCC was 0.79 and 0.68, respectively (P=0.02). Conclusions: Applying the HKLC staging system provides a good discriminative ability for survival prediction in HCC patients treated with curative intent. Comparing with the BCLC system, the HKLC system tends to yield better prognostic accuracy, particularly in viral-associated HCC.


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