Refining prognosis after trans-arterial chemo-embolization for hepatocellular carcinoma

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Background & Aims:

To develop an individual prognostic calculator for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) undergoing trans-arterial chemo-embolization (TACE).


Data from two prospective databases, regarding 361 patients who received TACE as first-line therapy (2000–2012), were reviewed in order to refine available prognostic tools and to develop a continuous individual web-based prognostic calculator. Patients with neoplastic portal vein invasion were excluded from the analysis. The model was built following a bootstrap resampling procedure aimed at identifying prognostic predictors and by carrying out a 10-fold cross-validation for accuracy assessment by means of Harrell's c-statistic.


Number of tumours, serum albumin, serum total bilirubin, alpha-foetoprotein and maximum tumour size were selected as predictors of mortality following TACE with the bootstrap resampling technique. In the 10-fold cross-validation cohort, the model showed a Harrell's c-statistic of 0.649 (95% CI: 0.610–0.688), significantly higher than that of the Hepatoma Arterial-embolization Prognostic (HAP) score (0.589; 95% CI: 0.552–0.626; P = 0.001) and of the modified HAP-II score (0.611; 95% CI: 0.572–0.650; P = 0.005). Akaike's information criterion for the model was 2520; for the mHAP-II it was 2544 and for the HAP score it was 2554. A web-based calculator was developed for quick consultation at


The proposed individual prognostic model can provide an accurate prognostic prediction for each patient with unresectable HCC following treatment with TACE without class stratification. The availability of an online calculator can help physicians in daily clinical practice.

See Editorial on Page 628

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