Original Investigation
September 2016

Hierarchic Interaction of Factors Associated With Liver Decompensation After Resection for Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Author Affiliations
  • 1Hepatology and Liver Transplantation Unit, Department of Surgery, Fondazione Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy
  • 2Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Foggia, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Ospedali Riuniti, Foggia, Italy

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JAMA Surg. 2016;151(9):846-853. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.1121

Importance  Liver resection is the treatment of choice for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in well-compensated liver cirrhosis. Postoperative liver decompensation (LD) is the most representative and least predictable cause of morbidity and mortality.

Objectives  To determine the hierarchy and interaction of factors associated with the risk for LD and to define applicable risk classes among surgical candidates.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This retrospective review collected data from 543 patients with chronic liver disease who underwent hepatic resection for HCC from January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2013, in a tertiary comprehensive cancer center. Final follow-up was completed on January 31, 2015, and data were assessed from February 1 to 28, 2015.

Major Outcomes and Measures  Preoperative prognostic factors and risk stratification for postoperative LD. Multivariate logistic regression was performed, and the independent risk factors for LD were included in a recursive partitioning analysis model. Results were validated by means of 10-fold cross-validation.

Results  The analysis included 543 patients, of whom 411 (75.7%) were male, 132 (24.3%) were female, and the median age was 68 (interquartile range, 62-73) years. An independent association with LD was found for major hepatectomy (odds ratio [OR], 2.41; 95% CI, 1.17-4.30; P = .01), portal hypertension (OR, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.13-4.30; P = .01), and Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score greater than 9 (OR, 2.26; 95% CI, 1.10-4.58; P = .02). Recursive partitioning analysis confirmed portal hypertension as the most important factor (OR, 2.99; 95% CI, 1.93-4.62; P < .001), followed by extension of hepatectomy with (OR, 2.76; 95% CI, 1.85-4.77; P = .03) and without (OR, 2.98; 95% CI, 1.97-4.52; P < .001) portal hypertension, and MELD score (OR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.23-2.13; P < .001). Low-risk patients (LD rate, 4.9% [11 of 226]) without portal hypertension underwent minor resection with a MELD score of 9 or less; intermediate-risk patients (LD rate, 28.6% [85 of 297]) had no portal hypertension and underwent major resections or, in case of minor resections, had portal hypertension or a MELD score greater than 9; and high-risk patients (LD rate, 60.0% [12 of 20]) underwent major resection with portal hypertension. Risk-class progression paralleled median length of stay (7, 8, and 11 days, respectively; P < .001) and liver-related mortality (4.4% [10 of 226], 9.0% [27 of 297], and 25.0% [5 of 20], respectively; P = .001). A 10-fold cross-validation of the model resulted in a C index of 0.78 (95% CI, 0.74-0.82) and an overall error rate of 0.06.

Conclusions and Relevance  The risk for postoperative LD after resection for HCC in chronic liver disease is associated with preoperative hierarchic interaction of portal hypertension, planned extension of hepatectomy, and the MELD score.