Effect of vitamin K2 on the recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma


  • Potential conflicts of interest: Kenichi Saito and Nozomu Koyanagi are employees of Eisai Co., Ltd. Drs. Shirator and Kudo are consultants for and received grants from Eisai. Drs. Shiina, Mizuta, Kojiro, Yamamoto, and Koike are consultants for Eisai. Dr. Koyanagi owns stock in Eisai. Dr. Omata is a consultant for, advises, and received grants from Eisai.

  • Financial support for this study was provided by Eisai Co., Ltd.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is characterized by frequent recurrence, even after curative treatment. Vitamin K2, which has been reported to reduce HCC development, may be effective in preventing HCC recurrence. Patients who underwent curative ablation or resection of HCC were randomly assigned to receive placebo, 45 mg/day, or 90 mg/day vitamin K2 in double-blind fashion. HCC recurrence was surveyed every 12 weeks with dynamic computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging, with HCC-specific tumor markers monitored every 4 weeks. The primary aim was to confirm the superiority of active drug to placebo concerning disease-free survival (DFS), and the secondary aim was to evaluate dose-response relationship. Disease occurrence and death from any cause were treated as events. Hazard ratios (HRs) for disease occurrence and death were calculated using a Cox proportional hazards model. Enrollment was commenced in March 2004. DFS was assessed in 548 patients, including 181 in the placebo group, 182 in the 45-mg/day group, and 185 in the 90-mg/day group. Disease occurrence or death was diagnosed in 58, 52, and 76 patients in the respective groups. The second interim analysis indicated that vitamin K2 did not prevent disease occurrence or death, with an HR of 1.150 (95% confidence interval: 0.843-1.570, one-sided; P = 0.811) between the placebo and combined active-drug groups, and the study was discontinued in March 2007.


Efficacy of vitamin K2 in suppressing HCC recurrence was not confirmed in this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. (HEPATOLOGY 2011;)