Background: Immune-nutritional status has been recently reported as a prognostic factor in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The controlling nutritional status (CONUT) score has been established as a useful tool to evaluate immune-nutritional status. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of the CONUT score as a prognostic factor in patients undergoing hepatectomy for HCC. Methods: A total of 295 patients who underwent curative hepatectomy for HCC between January 2007 and December 2014 were retrospectively analyzed. Patients were divided into two groups according to the CONUT score. The impact of the CONUT score on clinicopathological, surgical, and long-term outcomes was evaluated. Subsequently, the impact of prognostic factors, including the CONUT score, associated with outcomes was assessed using multivariate analyses. Results: Of 295 patients, 118 (40%) belonged to the high CONUT group (CONUT score ≥ 3). The high CONUT group had a significantly lower 5-year recurrence-free survival rate than the low CONUT group (27.9 vs. 41.4%, p = 0.011) and a significantly lower 5-year overall survival rate (61.9 vs. 74.9%, p = 0.006). In multivariate analyses of prognostic factors, the CONUT score was an independent predictor of recurrence-free survival (hazard ratio = 1.64, p = 0.006) and overall survival (hazard ratio = 2.50, p = 0.001). Conclusions: The CONUT score is a valuable preoperative predictor of survival in patients undergoing hepatectomy for HCC.
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