05.03.2020 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2020
Acute rejection after liver transplantation is less common, but predicts better prognosis in HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma patients
- Jia-Xi Mao, Wen-Yuan Guo, Meng Guo, Cong Liu, Fei Teng, Guo-Shan Ding
With a novel finding of significantly lower incidence of acute rejection (AR) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after liver transplantation, compared with those with benign end-stage liver disease (BESLD), in a large national cohort, we analyzed the correlations among the perioperative immuno-inflammation status, postoperative AR, and prognosis in HCC and BESLD patients with same etiology of hepatitis B virus (HBV), who underwent liver transplantation.
Patients who underwent liver transplantation due to HBV-related HCC or BESLD and experienced AR between September 2008 and April 2017 were analyzed retrospectively and followed up until April 2018. HCC patients with AR were matched with those without AR according to tumor stage and immunosuppressant concentration, at a 1:3 ratio. Preoperative immuno-inflammation status and prognosis of patients in both groups were compared.
The overall incidences of AR in patients with HCC and BESLD were 8.60% and 10.61%, respectively. The postoperative 28-day incidence of AR was significantly lower in HCC compared with BESLD patients (3.23% vs 7.08%, p = 0.031). Compared with BESLD patients, the rejection activity index and perioperative CD4/CD8 ratio were significantly lower (p = 0.047 and p < 0.001, respectively), while platelet/lymphocyte ratio was significantly higher in HCC patients (p = 0.041). Later tumor stage in HCC patients was associated with higher systemic immuno-inflammation index, neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio, monocyte/lymphocyte ratio, platelet/lymphocyte ratio, aspartate aminotransferase/lymphocyte ratio, C-reactive protein/albumin ratio and fibrinogen level, and lower CD4/CD8 ratio before transplantation. In HCC patients with AR, the percentage of regulatory T cells (CD4+/CD25+) and the level of IL-10 significantly decreased (p = 0.0023, < 0.0001, respectively), while Th1/Th2 ratio, levels of IFN-γ and IL-2 markedly increased before transplantation (p = 0.0018, 0.0059, 0.0416, respectively). Preoperative monocyte/lymphocyte ratio was an independent risk factor for overall and recurrence-free survival after liver transplantation in HCC patients (p = 0.025, < 0.001, respectively). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates were 76%, 71% and 53% in the AR group, and 67%, 37% and 25% in the non-AR group (p = 0.042).
Preoperative tumor-related immunosuppression may persist after liver transplantation in HCC patients, and reduce the incidence of AR. AR after liver transplantation may indicate a better prognosis in HCC patients.