Effect of Propranolol Treatment on the Incidence of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Patients Waiting for Liver Transplant With Cirrhosis: A Retrospective, Surveillance Study in a Tertiary Center
Etik, Digdem Ozer
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Objectives: Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most frequent primary malignant tumor of the liver and the third most common cause of all cancer-related mortalities. There is a need to develop new strategies to prevent hepatocellular carcinoma, as the incidence of this cancer continues to increase despite all advancements. In this study, our aim was to determine the effects of propranolol treatment on the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhotic patients waiting for liver transplant. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the data of patients waiting for liver transplant with cirrhosis due to various causes registered at the Hepatocellular Carcinoma Surveillance Program between June 2011 and December 2017 in our center. These data were compared between patients using propranolol and those not using propranolol. Results: Of the 231 patients, 135 (58.4%) were male and 96 (41.6%) were female. The mean age was 58.1 +/- 14 years. We noted that 153 of total patients (66.2%) were using propranolol. Three patients (2%) were using 20 mg propranolol, 125 (81.7%) were using 40 mg propranolol, 10 (6.5%) were using 60 mg propranolol, and 15 (9.8%) were using 80 mg propranolol. Of total patients, 36 (15.6%) developed hepatocellular carcinoma, including in 12 patients (7.8%) using propranolol and 24 patients (30.8%) who did not use this agent (P < .001).Thus, the hepatocellular carcinoma frequency was 5.22 times lower in patients receiving propranolol than in those not receiving propranolol. Conclusions: Although causes of cirrhosis and initial stages were similar in both groups using and not using propranolol, incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma was significantly lower in the propranolol group than in the group without propranolol. This result showed that propranolol treatment has a protective effect for hepatocellular carcinoma in patients waiting for liver transplant with cirrhosis.