Adherence to a Semiannual Surveillance Program for Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Patients With Liver Cirrhosis
Patient adherence to screening for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is not well known. Our aims were to analyze the adherence to a surveillance program in a prospective cohort of cirrhotic patients and to examine its association with HCC stage at diagnosis.Materials and Methods:
A total of 770 patients with cirrhosis were examined semiannually by ultrasound and alpha-fetoprotein at a tertiary center. We collected data on 17 variables at baseline. Suboptimal adherence was defined as failure to complete 2 consecutive screening rounds.Results:
Over a median follow-up period of 42.0 months (interquartile range: 60.0), 125 patients (16.2%) had suboptimal adherence. Active or previous intravenous drug use [hazard ratio (HR), 5.33; 95% confidence interval (CI), 3.07-9.23], active alcohol consumption (HR, 3.03; 95% CI, 2.03-4.51), absence of liver decompensation before the inclusion in the program (HR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.07-2.55) and aspartate transaminase/alanine transaminase ratio ≥1.6 (HR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.23-2.70) were independent predictors of suboptimal adherence. Compared with those with optimal adherence, patients with suboptimal adherence had a more advanced HCC stage at diagnosis (P=0.015), they were less frequently treated with curative intention (P=0.078) and survived less (median: 14.2 mo; IQR: 36.0 vs. 22.7 mo; IQR: 47.4; P=0.160), although these differences were not significant.Conclusions:
The adherence to the process of HCC surveillance can be considered as adequate among cirrhotic patients. Active alcohol consumption and a history of intravenous drug use are the strongest predictors of suboptimal adherence. These patients have a more advanced HCC stage at diagnosis and tend to be less frequently treated with curative intention.