Marasco G, et al. World J Gastroenterol 2020 - Review.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignancies in the world and it is one of the main complications of cirrhosis and portal hypertension. Even in the presence of a well-established follow-up protocol for cirrhotic patients, to date poor data are available on predictive markers for primary HCC occurrence in the setting of compensated advanced chronic liver disease patients (cACLD). The gold standard method to evaluate the prognosis of patients with cACLD, beyond liver fibrosis assessed with histology, is the measurement of the hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG). An HVPG ≥10 mmHg has been related to an increased risk of HCC in cACLD patients. However, these methods are burdened by additional costs and risks for patients and are mostly available only in referral centers. In the last decade increasing research has focused on the evaluation of several, simple, non-invasive tests (NITs) as predictors of HCC development. We reviewed the currently available literature on biochemical and ultrasound-based scores developed for the non-invasive evaluation of liver fibrosis and portal hypertension in predicting primary HCC. We found that the most reliable methods to assess HCC risk were the liver stiffness measurement, the aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index score and the fibrosis-4 index. Other promising NITs need further investigations and validation for different liver disease aetiologies.