Postoperative aspartate aminotransferase to lymphocyte ratio index change is an independent predictor of survival in patients with small hepatocellular carcinoma

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Elevated preoperative aspartate aminotransferase (AST) to lymphocyte ratio index (ALRI) is reported to be a prognostic factor for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after treatment. However, [DELTA] ALRI which represents the change from postoperative ALRI to preoperative ALRI change has received little attention. The present study was designed to evaluate the prognostic value of [DELTA] ALRI in small HCC patients after liver resection.

A retrospective cohort study was performed to analyze 241 patients with small HCC who underwent liver resection. Patients were divided into Group A ([DELTA] ALRI < 0, n = 142) and group B ([DELTA] ALRI ≥ 0, n = 99) according to postoperative ALRI change. Clinical data, overall survival (OS), and recurrence-free survival (RFS) were compared between the 2 groups, and a multivariate analysis was used to identify prognostic factors.

The 1, 3, and 5-year OS rates were 96.5%, 84.9%, and 70.8%, respectively, for group A, and 94.9%, 75.8%, and 59.7%, respectively for group B (P = .014). The corresponding 1, 3, and 5-year RFS rates were 78.2%, 54.6%, and 52.3%, respectively, for group A, and 62.6%, 40.1%, 24.5%, respectively, for group B (P < .001). The results of univariate and multivariate analysis indicated that [DELTA] ALRI was an independent prognostic factor for both RFS (P < .001, hazard ratio [HR] 2.192, 95% confidence interval 1.527–3.147) and OS (P < .001, HR 2.381, 95% confidence interval 1.503–3.771).

A positive [DELTA] ALRI after liver resection predicts decreased OS and RFS in patients with small HCC.

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