• comparison;
  • hepatitis B infection;
  • hepatocellular carcinoma;
  • staging system


Background and Aim:  Hepatitis B viral (HBV) infection is the predominant etiology of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in Asia. Our group previously reported a staging system known as the Chinese University Prognostic Index (CUPI) for HCC populations of which HBV infection is the predominant etiology. This study aims to validate CUPI and compare with other published staging systems.

Methods:  We analyzed a prospective cohort of patients with newly diagnosed HCC from 2003 to 2005. All patients were staged with CUPI, Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer Classification (BCLC), Cancer of the Liver Italian Program score (CLIP), tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) and Okuda systems at diagnosis. They were followed with survival data and the performance of each staging system (in terms of homogeneity, discriminatory ability and monotonicity of gradient) were analyzed and compared.

Results:  A total of 595 patients (80.2% with chronic HBV infection) were analyzed. The median follow-up was 41.4 months and the median survival was 6.6 months. Multivariate analyses identified symptomatic disease, ascites, vascular involvement, Child-Pugh-stage, alpha-fetoprotein and treatment to be the independent prognostic factors. CUPI could identify three groups with statistically significant survival difference (P < 0.0001). Both CUPI and CLIP had the most favorable performance in terms of discriminatory ability, homogeneity and monotonicity. CUPI performed the best in predicting 3-month survival while CLIP performed better in predicting the outcome of 6- and 12-month survival rate. BCLC was inferior to CLIP and CUPI in the overall performance.

Conclusion:  We have validated CUPI in a population composed of predominant HBV-related HCC. CUPI is an appropriate staging system for HBV-related HCC. In patients with advanced HCC, both CUPI and CLIP offer good risk stratification.