The role of LDH serum levels in predicting global outcome in HCC patients undergoing TACE: Implications for clinical management

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In many tumor types serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels is an indirect marker of tumor hypoxia, neo-angiogenesis and worse prognosis. However data about hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are lacking in the clinical setting of patients undergoing transarterial-chemoembolization (TACE) in whom hypoxia and neo-angiogenesis may represent a molecular key to treatment failure. Aim of our analysis was to evaluate the role of LDH pre-treatment levels in determining clinical outcome for patients with HCC receiving TACE. One hundred and fourteen patients were available for our analysis. For all patients LDH values were collected within one month before the procedure. We divided our patients into two groups, according to LDH serum concentration registered before TACE (first: LDH≤450 U/l 84 patients; second: LDH>450 U/l 30 patients). Patients were classified according to the variation in LDH serum levels pre- and post-treatment (increased: 62 patients vs. decreased 52 patients). No statistically significant differences were found between the groups for all clinical characteristics analyzed (gender, median age, performance status ECOG, staging systems). In patients with LDH values below 450 U/l median time to progression (TTP) was 16.3 months, whereas it was of 10.1 months in patients above the cut-off (p = 0.0085). Accordingly median overall survival (OS) was 22.4 months and 11.7 months (p = 0.0049). In patients with decreased LDH values after treatment median TTP was 12.4 months, and median OS was 22.1 months, whereas TTP was 9.1 months and OS was 9.5 in patients with increased LDH levels (TTP: p = 0.0087; OS: p<0.0001). In our experience, LDH seemed able to predict clinical outcome for HCC patients undergoing TACE. Given the correlation between LDH levels and tumor angiogenesis we can speculate that patients with high LDH pretreatment levels may be optimal candidates for clinical trial exploring a multimodality treatment approach with TACE and anti-VEGF inhibitors in order to improve TTP and OS.




Scartozzi, M., Faloppi, L., Bianconi, M., Giampieri, R., Maccaroni, E., Bittoni, A., … Cascinu, S. (2012). The role of LDH serum levels in predicting global outcome in HCC patients undergoing TACE: Implications for clinical management. PLoS ONE, 7(3).

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