Background & Aims: Wisteria floribunda agglutinin-positive human Mac-2 binding protein (WFA+-M2BP) can be used to assess the degree of liver fibrosis, but few studies have investigated its prognostic utility. We evaluated whether serum WFA+-M2BP can predict the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients. Methods: A total of 1323 CHB patients with WFA+-M2BP test results between 2009 and 2011 were included in this retrospective analysis. Results: The mean age of patients (793 men) was 51.0 years. During the follow-up period (median 60.3 months), 52 (3.9%) patients developed HCC. Age, the proportion of male gender, the presence of diabetes and cirrhosis, and levels of aspartate aminotransferase, alpha-foetoprotein, and WFA+-M2BP were significantly greater in patients with HCC than in those without HCC, whereas serum albumin levels and platelet counts were significantly lower in patients with HCC than in those without HCC (all P<.05). In multivariate analysis, WFA+-M2BP level was an independent predictor of HCC development (adjusted hazard ratio 1.143, 95% CI: 1.139-1.829), along with male gender and diabetes (all P<.05). In patients without cirrhosis (n=1087), WFA+-M2BP levels ≥1.8 were associated with a higher risk of HCC development (P<.001 by log-rank test), whereas WFA+-M2BP levels ≥1.8 tended to be associated with a higher risk of HCC development in patients with cirrhosis (n=236) (P=.073 by log-rank test). Conclusions: WFA+-M2BP level can independently predict HCC development. Further studies should investigate whether WFA+-M2BP level could be incorporated into surveillance strategies for CHB patients.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding information This study was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF-2016R1A1A1A05005138). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors are grateful to Dong-Su Jang, (Medical Illustrator, Medical Research Support Section, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea) for his help with the figures.
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