Aim and Objective: Inflammation-related changes in peripheral blood cells and blood proteins are prognostic factors for survival in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but their usefulness is limited by active bacterial infection. This study
investigated whether infection interfered with the predictive value of serglycin, a proteoglycan found in hematopoietic cells,
on survival in HCC.
Materials and Methods: Patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-induced HCC, 100 without and 30 with bacterial infection,
and 30 healthy adult controls were enrolled retrospectively. Baseline clinical data collected before treatment with transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) was evaluated and serglycin expression was assayed by flow cytometry. Receiver operating
characteristic (ROC) curve analysis identified serglycin cutoff values for patient stratification. Cox regression and Kaplan–
Meier analyses were performed to identify predictors of overall survival (OS).
Results: Serglycin levels in peripheral blood cells were higher in both groups of HCC patients than in the control group.
Cholinesterase, lung metastasis, average neutrophil serglycin fluorescence intensity, and aspartate aminotransferase levels
were associated with survival risk. Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage A was associated a good prognosis of OS.
Conclusion: The intensity of serglycin fluorescence in peripheral neutrophils was independently predictive of survival in
HCC and its value was not limited by bacterial infection. The method presented here is a simple and feasible way to predict
prognosis in HCC patients with TACE.