Serum myostatin predicts the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis: A multicenter study

Ji Hyun Kim, Seong Hee Kang, Minjong Lee, Gi Soo Youn, Tae Suk Kim, Baek Gyu Jun, Moon Young Kim, Young Don Kim, Gab Jin Cheon, Dong Joon Kim, Soon Koo Baik, Dae Hee Choi, Ki Tae Suk

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11 Scopus citations


Background and Aim: Previous studies reported that serum myostatin is associated with sarcopenia. We aimed to elucidate the association between serum myostatin levels and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development in patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis (ALC). Methods: This retrospective, multicenter study assessed 1077 Asian ALC patients enrolled from 2007 to 2017. The primary endpoint was the development of HCC within 5 years. Cox proportional hazards model analyses were used to assess the association of serum myostatin levels and HCC development. The time-dependent areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) of serum myostatin for 5-year HCC development were calculated. Serum myostatin levels were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with samples collected on the index date. Results: During a median follow-up of 2.5 years, 5-year cumulative HCC incidence rates were 6.7% in the total population. The median level of serum myostatin was 3.3 ng/mL (interquartile, 2.1–5.2 ng/mL). The AUROC of serum myostatin for 5-year HCC development was 0.78 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.76–0.81). In Cox proportional hazards model analyses, age, gender, platelet counts, and serum myostatin levels were independent risk factors for HCC development (adjusted hazard ratios [HRs] of age, male gender, platelet counts, and serum myostatin: 1.03, 2.79, 0.996, 1.18, respectively; all p < 0.05). Patients with high myostatin levels had a significantly higher risk of 5-year HCC development than those with low myostatin levels (HR 7.53, p < 0.001). Conclusion: Higher serum myostatin levels were significantly associated with a higher risk of developing HCC in ALC patients, which could identify high-risk patients who need stringent surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3347
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Myostatin


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