Background: A proportion of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients are diagnosed with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) despite regular surveillance. Aims: To determine predictors for HCC detection failure in CHB patients who underwent regular surveillance. Methods: CHB patients with well-preserved liver function, who underwent ultrasonography and alpha-foetoprotein (AFP) analysis every 6 months, were enrolled. Cox regression analysis was used to identify predictors for detection failure, defined as HCC initially diagnosed at Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage B or C. Results: Of the 4590 CHB patients (mean age, 52.1 years; men, 61.6%), 169 patients were diagnosed with HCC (3.68%) and 35 (20.7%) HCC patients were initially diagnosed with HCC BCLC stage B or C. The cumulative incidence of HCC detection failure was 0.2% at year 1 and 1.3% at year 5. Multivariate analyses indicated that cirrhosis (hazard ratio [HR], 3.078; 95% CI, 1.389-6.821; P = 0.006), AFP levels ≥9 ng/mL (HR, 5.235; 95% CI, 2.307-11.957; P = 0.010), and diabetes mellitus (HR, 3.336; 95% CI, 1.341-8.296; P = 0.010) were independent predictors of HCC detection failure. Another model that incorporated liver stiffness (LS) values identified LS values ≥11.7 kPa (HR, 11.045; 95% CI, 2.066-59.037; P = 0.005) and AFP levels ≥9 ng/mL (HR, 4.802; 95% CI, 1.613-14.297; P = 0.005) as predictors of detection failure. Conclusions: In CHB patients undergoing regular surveillance with ultrasonography and alpha-foetoprotein (AFP) analysis every 6 months, the HCC detection failure rate was not high (0.8% per person; 0.1% per test). However, careful attention should be paid in patients with advanced liver fibrosis (clinical cirrhosis or LS value >11.7 kPa), high AFP levels, or diabetes mellitus, who are prone to surveillance failure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology (medical)