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Elevated Serum α-Fetoprotein is Associated with Abbreviated Survival for Patients with Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma Who Undergo a Curative Resection

Abstract

Background

Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (FLC) is a rare variant of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), with most clinical data stemming from single-institution series. The variability in the literature lends support for analysis using a large national dataset. In doing so, we sought to (1) define the characteristics and outcomes of patients with FLC; (2) determine factors associated with survival in patients undergoing resection; and (3) compare the overall survival (OS) of patients with FLC with a matched group of patients with HCC.

Methods

The National Cancer Database was queried for patients with FLC, and their clinicopathologic features were recorded. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to delineate factors associated with survival.

Results

Between 2004 and 2015, 496 patients were diagnosed with FLC, 229 of whom underwent a curative resection. The median OS for patients with FLC undergoing curative resection was 78.5 months. Factors associated with abbreviated OS in this surgical cohort include multiple tumors [hazard ratio (HR) 3.15, p = 0.025], positive regional lymph nodes (HR 2.83, p = 0.023), and elevated serum α-fetoprotein (AFP; HR 2.81, p = 0.034). When the OS of patients with FLC was compared with a matched group of patients with HCC, no difference was detected (p = 0.748); however, patients with FLC and elevated AFP had abbreviated OS compared with patients with HCC and elevated AFP (43 vs. 82 months, p ≤ 0.001).

Conclusions

Elevations in serum AFP occur more frequently than previously documented for patients with FLC and are associated with abbreviated OS. AFP levels may help guide the decision for operative intervention in patients with FLC.

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Correspondence to Jonathan M. Hernandez MD.

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James D. McDonald, Shreya Gupta, Mackenzie L. Shindorf, Lauren A. Gamble, Samantha M. Ruff, Justin Drake, Theo Heller, Jim Y. Wan, Paxton V. Dickson, Evan S. Glazer, Jeremy L. Davis, Jeremiah L. Deneve, Jonathan M. Hernandez declare no conflicts of interest.

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McDonald, J.D., Gupta, S., Shindorf, M.L. et al. Elevated Serum α-Fetoprotein is Associated with Abbreviated Survival for Patients with Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma Who Undergo a Curative Resection. Ann Surg Oncol (2020) doi:10.1245/s10434-019-08178-x

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