1 The implementation of the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) staging system2, 3 revolutionized the clinical management of HCC patients as it links tumor characteristics with liver function and general condition. The BCLC staging system identified five subgroups of patients (BCLC-0, A, B, C, D), of which three subgroups (BCLC-stage B, C, D) subdivide the large group of patients who are not amenable to potentially curative treatments. Even within a given BCLC-stage, HCC is biologically very
heterogeneous and it has been shown that within these subgroups patients have different outcomes.4 This assumption has already been verified in patients at BCLC stage 0 or A, mostly Cell Cycle inhibitor by highly sophisticated genomic analysis in surgical tissue specimens.5 Similar studies in nonsurgical HCC patients are lacking, because
tumor tissue is check details not so readily available in many cases. In the palliative setting, very expensive targeted therapies are standard of care but only benefit a fraction of the eligible patients. Identifying patients with very dismal prognostic features despite treatment would be helpful in the judicious use of these agents. Application of prognostic systems like CLIP can subgroup these patients into several strata4 but the discriminative power of CLIP in the palliative setting (BCLC B and C) is not strong enough to exclude patients MCE公司 from
receiving these treatments. There is an urgent need for an easily determinable, simple, widely applicable, low-tech, and inexpensive marker from blood, which is able to identify patients with rapid progression to death despite treatment. C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase protein that is mainly produced in the liver. Following an acute phase stimulus, cytokines like interleukin (IL)-1 and IL-6 stimulate CRP production in hepatocytes, which is then released to the systemic circulation.6 CRP binds to several ligands, is involved in opsonization, interacts and activates the complement system, and has an fragment crystallizable (Fc)γ-receptor binding site.7 Thus, CRP plays a key role in a wide range of inflammatory processes and provides a link between the innate and adaptive immune systems. Besides acute and chronic infections, CRP values may be elevated in cancer patients. In fact, several studies have reported a prognostic value of elevated CRP levels in different types of cancer8-10 including resectable HCC.11-13 In this study we investigated the prognostic value of CRP levels in nonsurgical HCC patients with respect to the BCLC classification. BCLC, Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer; CRP, C-reactive protein; HCC, hepatocellular carcinoma; OS, overall survival; TACE, transarterial chemoembolization.