Liver Int. 2021 Mar 13. doi: 10.1111/liv.14877. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: The epidemiology of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection differs between Asians and non-Asians, but little is known regarding the effect of ethnicity on outcomes of HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We aim to characterize the presentation and survival outcomes in Asian and non-Asian patients with HBV-related HCC.
METHODS: We analyzed the baseline characteristics and long-term survival of 613 Asian and 410 non-Asian patients with HBV-related HCC from three U.S. and one Spanish center.
RESULTS: Overall, non-Asian patients were more likely to have HIV or hepatitis C co-infection, cirrhosis, decompensated liver disease and advanced BCLC stage (all P≤0.04). Compared with Asians, non-Asians were more likely to be listed for transplantation (P<0.0001) and undergo HCC treatment with curative intent (P=0.003). Propensity-score matching on HCC diagnosis year, sex, and age was performed to balance the two groups for survival analysis and yielded 370 pairs of patients. There was no significant difference in survival overall (P=0.43) and among patients with cirrhosis (P=0.57). Among patients without cirrhosis, non-Asians had poorer 5-year survival compared with Asians (37.6% versus 53.7%, P=0.01), and was associated with poorer survival after adjusting for age, gender, diabetes, alcohol, co-infections, diagnosis date, antiviral therapy, BCLC stage and HCC treatment (adjusted HR 2.01 [95% CI 1.07-3.74], P=0.03).
CONCLUSION: Among HBV-related HCC patients, non-Asians presented with more advanced BCLC stage compared to Asians. Non-Asian ethnicity was independently associated with twice the risk of mortality among patients without cirrhosis, but not among those with cirrhosis. Additional studies are needed to clarify this disparity.