Role of preoperative transcatheter arterial chemoembolization for resectable hepatocellular carcinoma: relation between postoperative course and the pattern of tumor recurrence

Hiroyuki Sugo, Shunji Futagawa, Tomoe Beppu, Masaki Fukasawa, Kuniaki Kojima
World Journal of Surgery 2003, 27 (12): 1295-9
The effects of preoperative transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) were retrospectively evaluated in patients with resectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). A total of 227 patients who underwent hepatectomy for HCC were studied (146 underwent preoperative TACE and 81 did not). We compared operative outcome, mortality, and disease-free survival between TACE and non-TACE groups. We also compared the pattern of recurrence and postrecurrence survival between subgroups according to staging. Of the 227 patients, 105 with tumor stage I-II were assigned to group A (group A/TACE, n = 69; group A/non-TACE, n = 36), and the remaining 122 with tumor stage III-IV were assigned to group B (group B/TACE, n =77; group B/non-TACE, n =45). Complete necrosis was found to be more frequent in the TACE group ( p < 0.01). Operating time, blood loss, and mortality did not differ between those who did and did not undergo preoperative TACE. TACE did not significantly improve disease-free survival within either the entire TACE group or group A/TACE. In contrast, in group B/TACE the disease-free survival rates were significantly higher than in group B/non-TACE. Furthermore, both extrahepatic metastasis and diffuse intrahepatic metastasis were significantly more frequent in group B/non-TACE than in group B/TACE. The preoperative TACE also improved the postrecurrence survival in group B. We speculate that preoperative TACE reduced tumor recurrence and that it might confer a survival advantage after surgery, particularly in patients with advanced HCC. In addition, it is expected that this procedure may improve the pattern of tumor recurrence when it does occur.

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