Natural history of hepatocellular carcinoma in northern Italy. Multivaried analysis of prognostic factors

G. C. Mels, G. Leandro, A. Scorpiniti, P. Cristini, G. Angeli

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Only few investigations have used multivaried analysis to evaluate the role of different prognostic factors in untreated patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this retrospective study we evaluated the predictive value of nine variables - obtained at the diagnosis - in relation to the survival of 130 unselected untreated HCC patients detected over a ten- year period in the province of Bergamo in northern Italy. The overall mean survival was 23 weeks (range 1-128): after six months, 41 patients were alive (31.5%) and after one year 15 (11.5%). Four of the nine variables (alcoholism, presenting symptoms, alphafetoprotein and bilirubin serum levels) demonstrated, in the univaried analysis, a statistically significant prognostic value on the survival rate. However, the multivaried analysis, using the Cox model, selected only two of them as independent prognostic factors: the presenting symptoms (p = 0.0017) and the bilirubin serum level (p = 0.0033). Age, sex, cirrhosis, HBsAg+ and tumor pathological classification (by Eggel) did not show any predictive value. These results confirm the poor prognosis of HCC in unselected patients, and demonstrate that, even today, a large number of hepatocellular carcinomas is diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease when the chances of treatment are limited and the survival short. In the clinical practice a simple evaluation of the patients at the diagnosis proves to be useful in roughly appraising their prognosis before any therapeutical approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-106
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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