Background Though the precise criteria for accessing LT are consistently being applied, HCC recurrence (HCC-R_LT) still affects more than 15% of the patients. We analyzed the clinical, histopathological, and biological features of patients with HCC to identify the predictive factors associated with cancer recurrence and survival after LT.Methods We retrospectively analyzed 441 patients with HCC who underwent LT in our center. Overall, 70 (15.8%) of them developed HCC-R_LT. We matched them by age at transplant and etiology with 70 non-recurrent patients. A comparable cohort from the Liver Transplant Centre of Bologna served as validation. The clinical and biochemical characteristics and pre-LT criteria (Milan, Metroticket, Metroticket_AFP, and AFP model) were evaluated. Histological analysis and immunohistochemistry for angiopoietin-2 in the tumor and non-tumor tissue of explanted livers were performed. Patients' follow-up was until death, last clinical evaluation, or 31 December 2021. In patients with HCC-R_LT, the date of diagnosis of recurrence and anatomical site has been reported; if a biopsy of recurrence was available, histologic and immunohistochemical analyses were also performed.Results Patients were followed up for a mean period of 62.7 54.7 months (median, 39 months). A higher risk of HCC-R_LT was evident for factors related indirectly (AFP) or directly (endothelial angiopoietin-2, microvascular invasion) to biological HCC aggressiveness. In multivariate analysis, only angiopoietin-2 expression was independently associated with recurrence. Extremely high levels of endothelial angiopoietin-2 expression were also found in hepatic recurrence and all different metastatic locations. In univariate analysis, MELD, Metroticket_AFP Score, Edmondson-Steiner grade, microvascular invasion, and endothelial angiopoietin-2 were significantly related to survival. In multivariate analysis, angiopoietin-2 expression, Metroticket_AFP score, and MELD (in both training and validation cohorts) independently predicted mortality. In time-dependent area under receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, the endothelial angiopoietin-2 expression had the highest specificity and sensitivity for recurrence (AUC 0.922, 95% CI 0.876-0.962, p < 0.0001).Conclusions Endothelial angiopoietin-2 expression is a powerful independent predictor of post-LT tumor recurrence and mortality, highlighting the fundamental role of tumor biology in defining the patients' prognosis after liver transplantation. The great advantage of endothelial angiopoietin-2 is that it is evaluable in HCC biopsy before LT and could drive a patient's priority on the waiting list.

Endothelial angiopoietin-2 overexpression in explanted livers identifies subjects at higher risk of recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma after liver transplantation / Lasagni, Simone; Leonardi, Filippo; Pivetti, Alessandra; Di Marco, Lorenza; Ravaioli, Federico; Serenari, Matteo; Gitto, Stefano; Critelli, Rosina Maria; Milosa, Fabiola; Romanzi, Adriana; Mancarella, Serena; Dituri, Francesco; Riefolo, Mattia; Catellani, Barbara; Magistri, Paolo; Romagnoli, Dante; Celsa, Ciro; Enea, Marco; de Maria, Nicola; Schepis, Filippo; Colecchia, Antonio; Cammà, Calogero; Cescon, Matteo; d'Errico, Antonietta; di Benedetto, Fabrizio; Giannelli, Gianluigi; Martinez-Chantar, Maria Luz; Villa, Erica. - In: FRONTIERS IN ONCOLOGY. - ISSN 2234-943X. - ELETTRONICO. - 12:(2022), pp. 1-12. [10.3389/fonc.2022.960808]

Endothelial angiopoietin-2 overexpression in explanted livers identifies subjects at higher risk of recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma after liver transplantation

Gitto, Stefano;
2022

Abstract

Background Though the precise criteria for accessing LT are consistently being applied, HCC recurrence (HCC-R_LT) still affects more than 15% of the patients. We analyzed the clinical, histopathological, and biological features of patients with HCC to identify the predictive factors associated with cancer recurrence and survival after LT.Methods We retrospectively analyzed 441 patients with HCC who underwent LT in our center. Overall, 70 (15.8%) of them developed HCC-R_LT. We matched them by age at transplant and etiology with 70 non-recurrent patients. A comparable cohort from the Liver Transplant Centre of Bologna served as validation. The clinical and biochemical characteristics and pre-LT criteria (Milan, Metroticket, Metroticket_AFP, and AFP model) were evaluated. Histological analysis and immunohistochemistry for angiopoietin-2 in the tumor and non-tumor tissue of explanted livers were performed. Patients' follow-up was until death, last clinical evaluation, or 31 December 2021. In patients with HCC-R_LT, the date of diagnosis of recurrence and anatomical site has been reported; if a biopsy of recurrence was available, histologic and immunohistochemical analyses were also performed.Results Patients were followed up for a mean period of 62.7 54.7 months (median, 39 months). A higher risk of HCC-R_LT was evident for factors related indirectly (AFP) or directly (endothelial angiopoietin-2, microvascular invasion) to biological HCC aggressiveness. In multivariate analysis, only angiopoietin-2 expression was independently associated with recurrence. Extremely high levels of endothelial angiopoietin-2 expression were also found in hepatic recurrence and all different metastatic locations. In univariate analysis, MELD, Metroticket_AFP Score, Edmondson-Steiner grade, microvascular invasion, and endothelial angiopoietin-2 were significantly related to survival. In multivariate analysis, angiopoietin-2 expression, Metroticket_AFP score, and MELD (in both training and validation cohorts) independently predicted mortality. In time-dependent area under receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, the endothelial angiopoietin-2 expression had the highest specificity and sensitivity for recurrence (AUC 0.922, 95% CI 0.876-0.962, p < 0.0001).Conclusions Endothelial angiopoietin-2 expression is a powerful independent predictor of post-LT tumor recurrence and mortality, highlighting the fundamental role of tumor biology in defining the patients' prognosis after liver transplantation. The great advantage of endothelial angiopoietin-2 is that it is evaluable in HCC biopsy before LT and could drive a patient's priority on the waiting list.
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Lasagni, Simone; Leonardi, Filippo; Pivetti, Alessandra; Di Marco, Lorenza; Ravaioli, Federico; Serenari, Matteo; Gitto, Stefano; Critelli, Rosina Maria; Milosa, Fabiola; Romanzi, Adriana; Mancarella, Serena; Dituri, Francesco; Riefolo, Mattia; Catellani, Barbara; Magistri, Paolo; Romagnoli, Dante; Celsa, Ciro; Enea, Marco; de Maria, Nicola; Schepis, Filippo; Colecchia, Antonio; Cammà, Calogero; Cescon, Matteo; d'Errico, Antonietta; di Benedetto, Fabrizio; Giannelli, Gianluigi; Martinez-Chantar, Maria Luz; Villa, Erica
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2158/1286590
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