Sarcopenia as a Predictive Factor for Recurrence of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Following Radiofrequency Ablation

Document Type : Research Articles


Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Background: Sarcopenia is a skeletal muscle mass deficiency and a potential prognostic factor for the recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Objective: To determine whether sarcopenia correlates with the recurrence rate of HCC after curative radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in early and very early HCC. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 669 HCC patients who underwent their first curative RFA at Siriraj hospital from 2011 to 2020. Fifty-six patients who were diagnosed with HCC by triple-phase CT scan and had complete response on follow-up CT were included. All patients underwent skeletal muscle index (SMI) assessment at level L3 vertebra and sarcopenia was defined by the cut-off values of 52.4 cm2/m2 for men and 38.5 cm2/m2 for women. We compared patients with and without sarcopenia. Time to recurrence was evaluated by the Kaplan-Meier method. Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analysis was performed. Results: Sarcopenia was present in 37 of 56 patients (66.1%). There was no significant difference between groups except body mass index (BMI) (P<0.001) and serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (P=0.035). There was a promising result indicating the difference of time to recurrence between each group (P=0.046) and potential association of sarcopenia with HCC recurrence (HR=2.06; P=0.052). The Child-Pugh score and tumor number were independent risk factors for HCC recurrence (HR=2.04; P=0.005 and HR=2.68; P=0.017, respectively). Conclusion: Sarcopenia is a potential prognostic factor for recurrence of HCC in Thai patients who underwent RFA. A larger study is required to properly confirm this association.


Main Subjects

Volume 24, Issue 4
April 2023
Pages 1143-1150
  • Receive Date: 05 August 2022
  • Revise Date: 07 February 2023
  • Accept Date: 06 April 2023
  • First Publish Date: 06 April 2023