1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Cook County Health and Hospital System, Chicago, IL, USA. email@example.com.
2Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Cook County Health and Hospital System, Chicago, IL, USA.
3Department of Medicine, Cook County Health and Hospital System, Chicago, IL, USA.
Background: Advanced liver fibrosis and cirrhosis represent independent risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). There is also evidence suggesting that several etiologies of chronic liver disease elevate the risk for non-hepatic cancers, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), alcohol abuse, and hepatitis C infection. In the present study, we aim to characterize the cancer incidence in patients with chronic liver disease and assess the prognostic value of non-hepatic cancer on the decompensation events of this population.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical records of patients who underwent transient elastography (TE) of liver, at John H. Stroger Hospital in Cook County, Chicago, IL. We identified patients who had decompensation of cirrhosis. We also extracted their cancer history. The cancer profiles of the cohort were compared by the presence or absence of advanced liver fibrosis. We then performed univariate and multivariate forward stepwise Cox regression analysis to identify the significant risk factors for the decompensation events and plotted Kaplan-Meier curve to demonstrate the significance of cancer in the prediction of decompensation events.
Results: We identified a total of 3097 patients who underwent TE. A total of 45 liver decompensation events were documented. In the univariate Cox regression model, MELD-Na score (hazard ratio (HR) 1.25, p < 0.001), liver stiffness measurement (HR 1.05, p = 0.004), and history of any cancer (HR 3.81, p = 0.001) emerged as predictors of decompensation. Non-hepatic cancer proved to be a significant predictor of decompensation (HR 3.57, p = 0.002).
Conclusion: The present study represents the first attempt to the best of our knowledge to describe the cancer incidence in this high-risk population. We found that non-HCC cancers independently predict hepatic decompensation events, which is an intriguing finding. We propose that physicians should be more vigilant to cancer history of patients with chronic liver disease as it might provide valuable prognostic information and guide individualized treatment and surveillance plans.