Division of Hepatobiliary and Transplantation Surgery, Department of Surgery, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) may be diagnosed in the absence of cirrhosis. However, little is known about prognostic factors for the survival of HCC patients with a non-cirrhotic liver in the absence of well-established risk factors. Method: Survival rates and risk factors for survival and recurrence were analysed in all patients diagnosed between 2000 and 2010 with HCC in a non-cirrhotic liver and in the absence of well-established risk factors. Results: Ninety-four patients were analysed. Treatment with curative intent consisted of surgical resection in 43 patients (46%) and radiofrequency ablation in 4 patients (4%). In patients treated with curative intent and alive 30 days after treatment (n = 40), 1- and 5-year overall survival rates were 95 and 51%, respectively. Patients with a high preoperative α-fetoprotein (AFP) serum level, the presence of microvascular invasion in the resected specimen, a complicated postoperative course and a major resection, due to a greater tumour volume, had a significantly worse outcome and a higher recurrence rate. In multivariate analysis, a high AFP serum level at presentation was significantly associated with recurrence and a worse survival. Conclusion: HCC presenting in a non-cirrhotic liver in the absence of well-established risk factors has a poor prognosis. Increased AFP serum levels are significantly associated with clinical outcome.