World journal of gastroenterology 24(12) 1321-1331 doi 10.3748/wjg.v24.i12.1321
To assess the performance of BALAD, BALAD-2 and their component biomarkers in predicting outcome of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients after liver transplant.
BALAD score and BALAD-2 class are derived from bilirubin, albumin, alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), Lens culinaris agglutinin-reactive AFP (AFP-L3), and des-gamma-carboxyprothrombin (DCP). Pre-transplant AFP, AFP-L3 and DCP were measured in 113 patients transplanted for HCC from 2000 to 2008. Hazard ratios (HR) for recurrence and death were calculated. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were conducted. C-statistics were used to compare biomarker-based to predictive models.
During a median follow-up of 12.2 years, 38 patients recurred and 87 died. The HRs for recurrence in patients with elevated AFP, AFP-L3, and DCP defined by BALAD cut-off values were 2.42 (1.18-5.00), 1.86 (0.98-3.52), and 2.83 (1.42-5.61), respectively. For BALAD, the HRs for recurrence and death per unit increased score were 1.48 (1.15-1.91) and 1.59 (1.28-1.97). For BALAD-2, the HRs for recurrence and death per unit increased class were 1.45 (1.06-1.98) and 1.38 (1.09-1.76). For recurrence prediction, the combination of three biomarkers had the highest c-statistic of 0.66 vs. 0.64, 0.61, 0.53, and 0.53 for BALAD, BALAD-2, Milan, and UCSF, respectively. Similarly, for death prediction, the combination of three biomarkers had the highest c-statistic of 0.660.65, 0.61, 0.52, and 0.50 for BALAD, BALAD-2, Milan, and UCSF. A new model combining biomarkers with tumor size at the time of transplant (S-LAD) demonstrated the highest predictive capability with c-statistics of 0.71 and 0.69 for recurrence and death.
BALAD and BALAD-2 are valid in transplant HCC patients, but less predictive than the three biomarkers in combination or the three biomarkers in combination with maximal tumor diameter (S-LAD).