Survival factors after resection of small hepatocellular carcinoma

Fu-Sheng Wu, Wen-He Zhao, Ting-Bo Liang, Zhi-Min Ma, Li-Song Teng, Min Wang, Shu-Sen Zheng
Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic Diseases International: HBPD INT 2005, 4 (3): 379-84

BACKGROUND: Early resection of hepatocellular carcinoma is a key measure to prolong the survival of patients. This study was designed to summarize our experience in surgical resection of small hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and to analyze the factors influencing the postoperative survival of patients.

METHODS: The clinicopathologic data of 105 patients with small HCC after resection from 1986 through 2003 were analyzed; the patients had been followed up for more than half a year (median 33 months). Nine clinicopathologic factors, preoperative alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) level, liver cirrhosis, Child-Pugh score, tumor size (>2 cm vs. < or = 2 cm) and number (single vs. multiple), capsule formation, portal vein tumor thrombi (PVTT), Edmondson tumor grade and surgical method, were analyzed by the log-rank test and the Cox proportional harzards model analysis.

RESULTS: The cumulative 1-, 3- and 5-year survival rates after the operation were 86.5%, 70.3% and 55.2%, respectively, and the 1-, 3- and 5-year disease-free survival rates were 78%, 58.9% and 45.6%, respectively. One patient died from esophagogastric varices hemorrhage in 2 weeks after reoperation. Thirty-six patients had intrahepatic recurrence or metastasis postoperatively and 34 patients died. The Kaplan-Meier method and the Cox proportional harzards model analysis indicated that poor Child-Pugh score, tumor more than 2 cm in diameter, PVTT and multiple lesions (including satellitic lesions) were adverse factors affecting postoperative survival. The Cox proportional harzards model analysis indicated that tumor size, PVTT and multiple lesions were the factors influencing postoperative disease-free survival.

CONCLUSIONS: Limited hepatectomy with a margin more than 1 cm is an appropriate surgical approach. Adverse preoperative Child-Pugh score and postoperative intrahepatic recurrences are the main factors leading to the death of patients with small HCC.

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