Association Between Sarcopenia and AFP Level in Patients Undergoing Liver Transplantation for Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Luis F. Acosta, Roberto Galuppo, Catherine R. García, Evelyn Villacorta, Adam Dugan, Ana Lía Castellanos, Roberto Gedaly, James T. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Sarcopenia is one of the most common complications of cirrhosis. Liver transplantation (LT) is the treatment of choice for patients with early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) that are unsuitable for resection. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 163 patients transplanted at our institution with HCC from 1998 to 2016. Sarcopenia was diagnosed based on the skeletal muscle mass on computed tomography imaging using SliceOmatic 5.0 software at L3 level (≤52.4 cm 2 /m 2 in males and ≤38.5 cm 2 /m 2 in females). Results: From the 163 patients who underwent LT for HCC, 119 had available computed tomography scan. From those, 61 were identified as sarcopenic by lumbar skeletal muscle index (LSMI), of which 53 patients were male (86.9%) with a median age of 59 y (56-64). The most common etiologies of cirrhosis were hepatitis C virus infection (55.7%) and alcohol liver disease (46.7%). A multivariable analysis was performed to find predictors of sarcopenia. Alpha-fetoprotein level >100 mg/dL (OR, 6.577; 95% CI: 1.370-51.464; P = 0.034) and gender (male) (OR, 5.878; 95% CI: 1.987-20.054; P = 0.002) were independently associated with the presence of sarcopenia in this cohort. Patients in the lowest quartile for LSMI had prolonged length of stay compared to the rest of the patients (P = 0.029). Conclusions: Alpha-fetoprotein level >100 mg/dL is associated with almost 6-fold increased risk of sarcopenia in patients with HCC undergoing LT. Patients in the lowest quartile of the LSMI are associated with 70% increased risk of prolonged length of stay in this cohort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


  • Alpha-fetoprotein
  • HCC
  • Liver transplantation
  • Sarcopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Association Between Sarcopenia and AFP Level in Patients Undergoing Liver Transplantation for Hepatocellular Carcinoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this