Stratification of hepatocellular carcinoma risk in primary biliary cirrhosis: a multicentre international study

Palak J Trivedi, Willem J Lammers, Henk R van Buuren, Albert Parés, Annarosa Floreani, Harry L A Janssen, Pietro Invernizzi, Pier Maria Battezzati, Cyriel Y Ponsioen, Christophe Corpechot, Raoul Poupon, Marlyn J Mayo, Andrew K Burroughs, Frederik Nevens, Andrew L Mason, Kris V Kowdley, Ana Lleo, Llorenç Caballeria, Keith D Lindor, Bettina E HansenGideon M Hirschfield, The Global PBC Study Group

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87 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an infrequent yet critical event in primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC); however, predictive tools remain ill-defined. Our objective was to identify candidate risk factors for HCC development in patients with PBC.

DESIGN: Risk factor analysis was performed in over 15 centres from North America and Europe spanning >40 years observation period using Cox proportional hazards assumptions, logistic regression, and Kaplan-Meier estimates.

RESULTS: Of 4565 patients with PBC 123 developed HCC, yielding an incidence rate (IR) of 3.4 cases/1000 patient-years. HCC was significantly more common in men (p<0.0001), and on univariate analysis factors at PBC diagnosis associated with future HCC development were male sex (unadjusted HR 2.91, p<0.0001), elevated serum aspartate transaminase (HR 1.24, p<0.0001), advanced disease (HR 2.72, p=0.022), thrombocytopenia (HR 1.65, p<0.0001), and hepatic decompensation (HR 9.89, p<0.0001). As such, non-treatment with ursodeoxycholic acid itself was not associated with cancer development; however, 12-month stratification by biochemical non-response (Paris-I criteria) associated significantly with future risk of HCC (HR 4.52, p<0.0001; IR 6.6 vs 1.4, p<0.0001). Non-response predicted future risk in patients with early stage disease (IR 4.7 vs 1.2, p=0.005), advanced disease (HR 2.79, p=0.02; IR 11.2 vs 4.4, p=0.033), and when restricting the analysis to only male patients (HR 4.44, p<0.001; IR 18.2 vs 5.4, p<0.001). On multivariable analysis biochemical non-response remained the most significant factor predictive of future HCC risk (adjusted HR 3.44, p<0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: This uniquely powered, internationally representative cohort robustly demonstrates that 12-month biochemical non-response is associated with increased future risk of developing HCC in PBC. Such risk stratification is relevant to patient care and development of new therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-329
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2015

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