Significance of platelet and AFP levels and liver function parameters for HCC size and survival

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a heterogeneous disease with both tumor and liver factors being involved.


To investigate HCC clinical phenotypes and factors related to HCC size.


Prospectively-collected HCC patients' data from a large Italian database were arranged according to the maximum tumor diameter (MTD) and divided into tumor size terciles, which were then compared in terms of several common clinical parameters and patients' survival.


An higer MTD tercile was significantly associated with increased blood alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGTP), and platelet levels. Patients with higher platelet levels had larger tumors and higher GGTP levels, with lower bilirubin levels. However, patients with the highest AFP levels had larger tumors and higher bilirubin levels, reflecting an aggressive biology. AFP correlation analysis revealed the existence of 2 different groups of patients: those with higher and with lower AFP levels, each with different patient and tumor characteristics. The Cox proportional-hazard model showed that a higher risk of death was correlated with GGTP and bilirubin levels, tumor size and number, and portal vein thrombosis (PVT), but not with AFP or platelet levels.


An increased tumor size was associated with increased blood platelet counts, AFP and GGTP levels. Platelet and AFP levels were important indicators of tumor size, but not of survival.

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