The fibrosis in chronic hepatitis shows dynamic changes during antiviral therapy (AVT). We investigated whether P-I-R (progressive vs. indeterminate vs. regressive) staging is predictive of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) taking AVT who underwent resection. Patients with CHB-related HCC who underwent curative resection between 2004 and 2017 and had received ≥2 years AVT at the time of resection were eligible. Two pathologists performed P-I-R staging. In total, 104 patients with CHB-related HCC were enrolled. The mean age of the study population was 56.3 years. The mean duration of AVT at the time of resection was 62.6 months. During the follow-up period (mean, 45.5 months), 20 (19.2%) and 14 (13.5%) patients developed early and late recurrence of HCC, respectively. The cumulative incidence of late recurrence was significantly lower in patients with regressive patterns than in those with indeterminate and progressive patterns according to P-I-R staging (P = 0.015, log-rank test), although the cumulative incidence of overall recurrence according to P-I-R staging was similar. Hepatitis B virus DNA levels (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.200, P = 0.020) and the regressive P-I-R staging pattern (HR = 0.127, P = 0.047) independently predicted the risk of late recurrence. One-time assessment of the P-I-R staging at the time of curative resection in patients with CHB-related HCC receiving AVT independently predicted late HCC recurrence. Therefore, qualitative fibrosis assessment by P-I-R staging might be useful in predicting the outcomes of patients with CHB undergoing AVT.
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