Publications & Posters

Pathological predictive factors for late recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic liver disease

Liver International | February 27, 2021

Nahm JH, Lee HS, Kim H, Yim SY, Shin JH, Yoo JE, Ahn SH, Choi JS, Lee JS and Park YN

Liver international : official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver. 2021;41:1662-1674

DOI: 10.1111/liv.14835


Background & Aims

Late recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is regarded as de novo HCC from chronic hepatitis. This study investigated clinicopathological and molecular factors to develop a nomogram for predicting late HCC recurrence (>2 years after curative resection).


The training and validation cohorts included HCC patients with a major aetiology of hepatitis B who underwent curative resection. Clinicopathological features including lobular and porto-periportal inflammatory activity, fibrosis and liver cell change were evaluated. Proteins encoded by genes related to late recurrence were identified using a reverse phase protein array of 95 non-tumourous liver tissues. Immunoexpression of phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (pSTAT3), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (pERK1/2) and spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) was measured.


Late recurrence occurred in 74/402 (18%) and 47/243 (19%) in the training and validation cohorts respectively. Cirrhosis, moderate/severe lobular inflammatory activity, and expression of pSTAT3, pERK1/2, and SYK proteins correlated to the gene signature of hepatocyte injury and regeneration were independently associated with late recurrence, with odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) of 2.0 (1.2-3.3), 21.1 (4.3-102.7) and 6.0 (2.1-17.7) respectively (P < .05 for all). A nomogram based on these variables (histological parameters and immunohistochemical marker combinations) showed high reliability in both the training and validation cohorts (Harrell’s C index: 0.701 and 0.716; 95% confidence intervals: 0.64-0.76 and 0.64-0.79 respectively).


The combination of pSTAT3, pERK1/2 and SYK immunoexpression with high lobular inflammatory activity and cirrhosis (fibrosis) predicts late HCC recurrence.