BACKGROUND & AIMS:
Recently, the PAGE-B score and Toronto HCC risk index (THRI) have been developed to predict the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in Caucasian patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB). We aimed to validate PAGE-B scores and THRI in Asian patients with CHB and suggested modified PAGE-B scores to improve the predictive performance.
From 2007 to 2017, we examined 3,001 Asian patients with CHB receiving entecavir/tenofovir therapy. We assessed the performances of PAGE-B, THRI, CU-HCC, GAG-HCC, and REACH-B for HCC development. A modified PAGE-B score (mPAGE-B) was developed (derivation set, n = 2,001) based on multivariable Cox models. Bootstrap for internal validation and external validation (validation set, n = 1,000) were performed.
The five-year cumulative HCC incidence rates were 6.6% and 7.2% in the derivation and validation datasets after entecavir/tenofovir onset. In the derivation dataset, age, gender, serum albumin levels, and platelet counts were independently associated with HCC. The mPAGE-B score was developed based on age, gender, platelet counts, and serum albumin levels (time-dependent area under receiver operating characteristic curves [AUROC] = 0.82). In the validation set, the PAGE-B and THRI showed similar AUROCs to CU-HCC, GAG-HCC, and REACH-B at five years (0.72 and 0.73 vs. 0.70, 0.71, and 0.61 respectively; all p >0.05 except REACH-B), whereas the AUROC of mPAGE-B at five years was 0.82, significantly higher than the five other models (all p <0.01). HCC incidence rates after initiation of entecavir/tenofovir therapy in patients with CHB were significantly decreased in all risk groups in long-term follow-up periods.
Although PAGE-B and THRI are applicable in Asian patients with CHB receiving entecavir/tenofovir therapy, mPAGE-B scores including additional serum albumin levels showed better predictive performance than the PAGE-B score.
PAGE-B scores and Toronto HCC risk index were developed to predict the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in Caucasian patients with CHB under potent antiviral therapy. This study validated these two scores in Asian patients with CHB and suggested that modified PAGE-B scores could improve the predictive performance. A modified PAGE-B score, which is based only on a patient's age, gender, baseline platelet counts, and serum albumin levels at treatment initiation, represents a reliable and easily available risk score to predict HCC development during the first five years of antiviral treatment in Asian patients with CHB. With a scoring range from 0 to 21 points, a modified PAGE-B score differentiates the HCC risk. A modified PAGE-B score significantly differentiates the five-year HCC risk: low ≤8 points and high ≥13 points.