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Staging of hepatocellular carcinoma: assessment of the CLIP, Okuda, and Child-Pugh staging systems in a cohort of 257 patients in Toronto
  1. I Levy,
  2. M Sherman,
  3. The Liver Cancer Study Group Of The University Of Toronto
  1. Department of Medicine, Toronto General Hospital and the University of Toronto, Toronto Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr M Sherman, Toronto General Hospital EN9-223, 200 Elizabeth St, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2C4 Canada;


Background: A new staging system for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has recently been reported from Italy (CLIP classification). It combines Child-Pugh staging with tumour criteria: tumour morphology, portal invasion, and alpha fetoprotein levels.

Aims: To validate the use of the CLIP staging in a cohort of HCC patients and compare it with Okuda staging.

Patients and methods: A retrospective analysis of patients with HCC diagnosed in the Toronto General Hospital between October 1994 and December 1998.

Results: A total of 313 patients were identified; 19 patient with insufficient data and 37 transplant patients were excluded. Hence 257 patients in whom complete data for clinical staging were available were included in the study. The median survival of the cohort was 22.8 months. The CLIP stage 0 group (23.1% of the cohort) and the Okuda stage 1 group (50.7% of the cohort) had a five year survival rate of 67% and 35%, respectively (p<0.02). The CLIP stage 0 criteria more accurately defined patients with a good prognosis. The Okuda classification failed to identify two thirds of the 37 patients with a poor prognosis, who were identified by the CLIP criteria. Patients with a CLIP score ≥4 shared a very poor prognosis (median survival 1–3 months). Further classification above stage 4 was unnecessary.

Summary: The CLIP classification for HCC is easy to implement and more accurate than the Okuda classification. Our cohort was different from the CLIP cohort (more hepatitis B) but the results were still consistent.

  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • classification
  • risk factors
  • prognosis
  • CLIP staging
  • HCC, hepatocellular carcinoma
  • CLIP, cancer of the liver Italian program
  • TMN, tumour node metastasis
  • BCLC, Barcelona clinic liver cancer staging
  • AFP, alpha fetoprotein

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