We read the paper ‘Transarterial chemo-embolisation of hepatocellular carcinoma: impact of liver function and vascular invasion’ with interest, which was published in a recent issue of British Journal of Cancer(Waked et al, 2017). In this elegant, multi-center study, including 3030 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) undergoing transarterial chemo-embolisation, authors demonstrate that the ALBI grade can be used as a marker of liver functional reserve in HCC patients from different geographical regions. We have consistent findings from our own recent study, which enrolled a large cohort of 3182 HCC patients (Liu et al, 2017). In addition, an independent study from Japan confirmed the predictive role of ALBI grade in 2584 HCC patients (Hiraoka et al, 2016). All these studies meticulously show the feasibility of the ALBI grade as a prognostic predictor for HCC. Although the findings are interesting, some concerns may deserve our attention.