BACKGROUND AND AIMS - Visceral fat accumulation reportedly increases the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development in patients with chronic liver disease. However, it has not been fully elucidated whether visceral fat accumulation increases the risk of HCC recurrence after curative treatment in patients with suspected non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Therefore this was investigated in the current study.
METHODS - 62 patients with naive HCC with suspected NASH were enrolled. All were curatively treated with percutaneous radiofrequency ablation between 1999 and 2006. The visceral fat area (VFA) was determined in each patient from CT images, taken at the time of HCC diagnosis. Patients were divided into two groups based on VFA: the high VFA group (>130 cm(2) in males, >90 cm(2) in females, n = 27) and the others (n = 35). The effects of VFA on HCC recurrence were analysed together with other factors including patients' background, tumour-related factors and liver function-related factors.
RESULTS - The cumulative recurrence rates differed significantly between the two groups; 15.9, 56.5 and 75.1% at 1, 2 and 3 years, respectively, in the high VFA group, and 9.7, 31.1 and 43.1%, respectively, in the controls (p = 0.018). Multivariate analysis indicated visceral fat accumulation (risk ratio 1.08, per 10 cm(2), p = 0.046) and older age (risk ratio 1.06 per 1 year, p = 0.04) as independent risk factors of HCC recurrence.
CONCLUSIONS - Visceral fat accumulation is an independent risk factor of HCC recurrence after curative treatment in patients with suspected NASH.