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Prognostic role of noninvasive liver reserve markers in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma undergoing transarterial chemoembolization
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Background Various noninvasive liver reserve markers were proposed to indicate the severity of liver damage. However, the role and feasibility of these markers to predict the prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are unknown. We aimed to identify the prognostic role of the 8 currently used hepatic reserve markers in patients with HCC undergoing transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). Methods Between 2002 and 2013, a total of 881 patients with HCC undergoing TACE were prospectively identified and retrospectively analyzed. The baseline characteristics, tumor status and noninvasive markers were collected. Homogeneity and corrected Akaike information criteria (AICc) were compared between these markers. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to identify independent predictors of survival. Results Significant differences in survival distribution were found for albumin-bilirubin (ALBI) grade, Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP) class, Lok index, fibrosis index based on 4 factors (FIB-4), Go E teborg University cirrhosis index (GUCI), cirrhosis discriminant index (CDI) and model for endstage liver disease (MELD) score (all p values <0.05). Among these markers, the ALBI grade showed the highest homogeneity and lowest AICc value, indicating a better prognostic performance. Cox multivariate analysis confirmed that ALBI grade 2, ascites, serum alkaline phosphatase and alpha-fetoprotein level, tumor diameter, vascular invasion and performance status were significant independent prognostic predictors. The distribution of the ALBI score well correlated with baseline CTP and MLED scores. Conclusions Our data suggest that among the currently used liver reserve markers, ALBI grade may serve as an objective and feasible surrogate to predict the prognosis of HCC patients undergoing TACE.