Background — Appropriate patient selection for liver resection in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is critical to mitigation of major liver-related postoperative complications. Currently, no standard prognostic tool exists to predict the risk of postoperative liver decompensation events (POLDEs) after partial hepatectomy for patients with cirrhosis and HCC. This study aimed to identify independent preoperative predictors of POLDEs for future development of prognostic tools to improve surgical decision-making.
Methods — This population-based, retrospective cohort study investigated patients with cirrhosis and incident HCC between 2007 and 2017, identified using administrative health data from Ontario, Canada. The occurrence of a POLDE or death within 2 years after surgery was described. Multivariable Cox regression identified independent predictors of POLDE-free survival, as well as cause-specific hazards for POLDEs and death.
Results — Among 611 patients with cirrhosis and HCC who underwent liver resection, 160 (26.2%) experienced at least one POLDE, and 189 (30.9%) died within 2 years after surgery. Diabetes, cirrhosis etiology, major liver resection, and previous non-malignant decompensation were independent predictors of POLDE-free survival. Except for extent of resection, the same risk factors were associated with POLDEs in the cause-specific analysis. In contrast, only age and history of previous non-malignant decompensation were independent predictors of mortality.
Conclusions — Among patients with cirrhosis undergoing resection for HCC, patient and disease-related factors are associated with POLDEs and POLDE-free survival. These factors can be used both to inform clinical practice and to advance the development of preoperative prognostic tools, which may lead to improved outcomes for this population.