BACKGROUND & AIMS: Semi-annual surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is recommended for patients with cirrhosis. We aimed to determine how compliance with HCC surveillance guidelines affects survival times of patients with hepatitis C virus- or hepatitis B virus-associated compensated cirrhosis who developed HCC.
METHODS: We collected data from the prospective ANRS CO12 CirVir study, from March 2006 through June 2012, on 1671 patients with biopsy-proven viral cirrhosis and no previous liver complications who were undergoing surveillance for HCC at 35 centers in France. Only 216 patients who developed HCC during the follow-up period were included in the analysis. Patients were considered to be compliant with surveillance guidelines if the time between their last surveillance image evaluation and diagnosis of HCC were fewer than 7 months and noncompliant if this time was 7 months or longer.
RESULTS: HCC was detected in 216 patients, at a median follow-up time of 59.7 months. Of these patients, 140 (80.5%) were Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage 0/A, 135 (69.9%) received first-line curative treatment (15 underwent transplantation, 29 underwent resection, 89 received percutaneous ablation, and 2 received resection and percutaneous ablation), and 129 (60.0%) were compliant with surveillance guidelines. Seventy-nine of the patients with HCC died; 49 deaths were associated with tumor progression. After lead-time adjustment, overall survival (OS) time was longer in patients compliant with surveillance guidelines (median OS time, 53.2 months) than noncompliant patients (median OS time, 25.4 months) (P = .0107); this difference remained significant even when we changed lead time assumptions. In multivariate analysis adjusted for a propensity score, compliance with HCC surveillance guidelines was associated with low tumor burden, allocation of curative treatment, and increased OS time compared with noncompliance (hazard ratio for OS, 2.19; 95% confidence interval, 1.16-4.14; P = .0150).
CONCLUSIONS: In an analysis of data from the ANRS CO12 CirVir cohort, we associated compliance with HCC surveillance guidelines (fewer than 7 months between image evaluations) with early diagnosis, allocation of curative treatment, and longer adjusted OS of patients with hepatitis C virus- or hepatitis B virus-associated compensated cirrhosis and a diagnosis of HCC.