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Ali A. Mokdad, Amit G. Singal, Jorge A. Marrero, Hao Zhu and Adam C. Yopp

Background: Patients with Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage C hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have variable long-term outcomes. Better delineation of prognosis is important for clinical trial enrollment and clinical practice in an era of precision medicine. We hypothesized that stratification of patients with BCLC stage C HCC by presence of vascular invasion and/or metastasis improves prognostic discrimination. Methods: Using a prospectively maintained database, we identified 234 patients diagnosed with BCLC stage C HCC between 2005 and 2015. Patients were stratified into 3 groups based on tumor characteristics: (1) vascular invasion alone, (2) metastasis alone, and (3) vascular invasion and metastasis. Overall survival (OS) was compared using a Cox model. A subgroup analysis was performed based on extent of vascular invasion and site of metastasis. Results: The cohort comprised 123 patients (53%) with vascular invasion alone, 34 (15%) with metastasis alone, and 77 (33%) with both vascular invasion and metastasis. Median survival was 5.7, 3.9, and 3.0 months, respectively (P<.01). Patients with vascular invasion or metastasis alone had significantly better survival compared with those with vascular invasion and metastasis (adjusted hazard ratio [HR],0.68; 95% CI, 0.49–0.94, and HR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.39–0.96, respectively). Compared with tumoral invasion of branch portal veins, involvement of the main portal vein was associated with worse survival (HR, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.29–3.49). OS did not differ by site of metastasis. Conclusions: Stratification of patients within the BCLC stage C staging subgroup by vascular invasion and presence of metastasis further discriminates patient prognosis. This substratification may have implications for therapy and more accurate prognostic features.

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Ali Mokdad, Travis Browning, John C. Mansour, Hao Zhu, Amit G. Singal and Adam C. Yopp

Background: The diagnosis and treatment of cancer is a continuum, with multiple steps and interfaces between patients and providers allowing for potential delays in cancer recognition and subsequent treatment. The diagnosis and treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is especially prone to missteps along the continuum, leading to treatment delays due to non–tissue-based diagnosis and multiprovider treatments. The aim of this study was to evaluate outcome measures after implementation of a voice messaging system (VMS) designed to streamline patient referrals to downstream treatment physicians and ultimately reduce delays in HCC treatment, thereby improving outcome measures. Methods: A retrospective study of outpatients with HCC was conducted in a safety net hospital between February 2008 and January 2012. In February 2010, VMS notification of HCC to the ordering physician and downstream treating physicians was implemented. Patients were divided into 2 groups: (1) preintervention: diagnosis 2 years before implementation or failure of notification following implementation, and (2) postintervention: diagnosis 2 years after implementation. Demographics, tumor characteristics, treatment, and survival were compared. Results: This study included 96 patients diagnosed with HCC: 51 in the preintervention group and 45 in the postintervention group. The main cause of chronic liver disease was HCV infection, and no differences in symptoms, liver dysfunction, tumor characteristics, or treatment were observed between groups. The time from diagnosis to clinic contact (0.5 vs 2.9 months; P=.003) and time from detection to treatment (2.2 vs 5.5 months; P=.005) was significantly shorter after implementation of the VMS. Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage A status (hazard ratio [HR], 3.1; 95% CI, 2, 6), treatment (HR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1, 4), and VMS (HR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1, 3) were independently associated with overall survival. Patients diagnosed after implementation of the VMS had a median survival of 28.5 versus 15.7 months (P=.02). Conclusions: Implementation of VMS reduces time to treatment and time to clinic visit. Reduction in time to treatment is associated with improved outcome independent of tumor stage, underlying liver function, and treatment.