Background: Visceral fat accumulation reportedly increases the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development in patients with chronic liver disease. However, it is not fully elucidated whether visceral fat accumulation increases the risk of HCC recurrence after curative treatment in patients with suspected non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Aim: To investigate whether visceral fat accumulation is a risk factor of HCC recurrence after curative treatment in NASH-suspected patients.
Methods: We enrolled 62 NASH-suspected naïve HCC patients. All were curatively treated with percutaneous radiofrequency ablation between 1999 and 2006. The visceral fat area (VFA) was determined in each patient from computed tomography images, taken at the time of HCC diagnosis. Patients were divided into two groups based on VFA: the high VFA group (> 130 cm2 in male, > 90 cm2 in female, n = 27) and the others (n = 35). The effects of VFA on HCC recurrence were analyzed together with other factors including patients’ background, tumor-related factors, and liver function-related ones.
Results: The cumulative recurrence rates significantly differed 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% in the controls (P = 0.018). Multivariate analysis indicated visceral fat accumulation (risk ratio 1.08, per 10 cm2, 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 NASH-suspected patients.