Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the seventh most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major risk factor for HCC recurrence after curative resection. This study evaluated anti-HCV antibody (Ab) titer as a prognostic indicator of HCC recurrence after curative hepatic resection. Methods: A total of 82 patients with HCC (anti-HCV Ab positive and hepatitis B surface antigen negative) who underwent curative hepatic resection were evaluated. Anti-HCV Ab titers were measured using a third-generation enzyme immunoassay, and patients were divided into high (n = 41) and low (n = 41) titer groups to compare their clinicopathological characteristics and disease-free survival. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify risk factors for early or late recurrence. Results: Multivariate analysis showed that anti-HCV Ab titer and vascular invasion were independent prognostic factors of disease-free survival [odds ratio (OR) 1.9, p = 0.03, and OR 1.8, p = 0.04, respectively]. Subgroup analysis identified only vascular invasion as an independent prognostic factor for early recurrences that were considered residual intrahepatic metastases. Subgroup analysis identified anti-HCV Ab titer and fibrosis grade as independent prognostic factors of late recurrences that were considered to be metachronous multicentric liver carcinogenesis (OR 4.8, p = 0.04, and OR 5.2, p = 0.03, respectively). Discussion: Anti-HCV Ab titer is a predictive factor for HCC recurrence, especially the risk of late recurrence due to multicentric carcinogenesis. Prevention of liver carcinogenesis after hepatic resection for HCC might be appropriate for patients with high anti-HCV Ab titers.
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