Low Alpha-Fetoprotein Levels Are Associated with Improved Survival in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients with Portal Vein Thrombosis

Carr, Brian; Guerra, Vito; Carr, Brian I
March 2016
Digestive Diseases & Sciences;Mar2016, Vol. 61 Issue 3, p937
Academic Journal
journal article
Background: Macroscopic portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is a common and dire prognostic feature of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and often precludes many treatments as a result. Little is known about its causes or mechanisms or clinical associations.Aims: To examine patients with PVT in order to possibly identify prognostically different subsets.Methods: A large cohort of non-curable patients with advanced and biopsy-proven HCC in which survival was documented, were retrospectively examined.Results: We analyzed a large HCC cohort containing 366 (63.3%) PVT-positive patients and found that PVT is associated with patients having larger tumors and higher levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and des-gamma carboxyprothrombin (DCP). We identified in patients with normal bilirubin levels (≤ 2.0 mg/dl) two PVT-positive patients, having higher and lower AFP levels, respectively. They differed in the significantly better prognosis of the low AFP patients, which may be useful for patient management decisions.Conclusions: Patients with PVT are heterogeneous with respect to AFP levels. AFP-negative patients have a significantly better survival than those who have elevated AFP.


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