- 1Department of Surgery, McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA.
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Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients with cirrhosis are high-risk for invasive procedures. Identification of those at risk may prevent complications and allow more informed decision-making. The aspartate aminotransferase (AST) to platelet ratio index (APRI) is a measure of cirrhosis that we hypothesize predicts survival and may estimate HCC mortality.
Methods: Institutional retrospective study of all HCC patients. Demographics and labs [bilirubin, international normalized ratio (INR), creatinine, AST and platelets] were recorded at the date-of-diagnosis to calculate APRI and the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score (MELD). Poor survival was defined as death within 30-days from diagnosis. Models were created to determine predictors of death within 30-days and overall survival.
Results: A total of 829 patients comprised this study and <30-day death was observed in 111 patients (17%). Mean APRI and MELD scores were higher in the <30-day death group. APRI [odds ratio (OR) 1.45, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07-1.96] and MELD (OR 1.21, 95% CI: 1.14-1.28) were predictive of <30-day death. Stratified by stage, APRI [hazard ratio (HR) 1.12, 95% CI: 1.01-1.24] and MELD (HR 1.07, 95% CI: 1.05-1.09) were associated with overall survival. Inclusion of APRI and MELD components in the Cox regression resulted in the best fit (c-index =0.67).
Conclusions: The APRI is an innovative marker of cirrhosis and survival for HCC patients. APRI provides additional prognostic information regarding the severity of cirrhosis and external validation is needed to determine clinical utility.