For Hepatocellular Cancer Patients, Maintaining a Healthy Albumin Level Goes a Long Way to Improving Survival Odds

INTRODUCTION: We evaluated the prognostic significance of the preoperative albumin-to-globulin ratio (AGR) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with various liver etiologies.

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed 157 patients with HCC between July 2010 and February 2021. The relationship between clinicopathological variables was investigated using univariate and multivariate analyses. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05.

RESULTS: The mean overall survival (OS) was 24.5 months. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year OS rates were 90.4%, 81.2%, and 68.7%, respectively. Patients were classified into 2 groups: AGR <1.16 (low-AGR group; n = 43) and AGR ≥1.16 (high-AGR group; n = 114). In univariate analysis, OS was significantly reduced in patients with a low AGR (AGR <1.16), an alpha-fetoprotein level ≥25 ng/mL, a tumor size ≥3.5 cm, microvascular invasion, and poor tumor differentiation. In multivariate analysis, a low AGR (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval]) (2.394 [1.092-5.213]; p = 0.030) and microvascular invasion (2.268 [1.019-5.169]; p = 0.045) were independent predictors of OS.

DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: A low AGR was significantly associated with poor OS in patients with HCC, regardless of liver etiology. This may assist in treatment stratification and better management of patients with HCC.

Utsumi M, et al. Preoperative Albumin-to-Globulin Ratio Predicts Prognosis in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Cohort Study Including Non-Hepatitis Virus-Infected Patients. Dig Surg. 2021; 38(4):307-315. doi: 10.1159/000518307. Epub 2021 Aug 10.