Initial treatment response is essential to improve survival in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who underwent curative radiofrequency ablation therapy

Shunsuke Takahashi, Masatoshi Kudo, Hobyung Chung, Tatsuo Inoue, Emi Ishikawa, Satoshi Kitai, Chie Tatsumi, Taisuke Ueda, Yasunori Minami, Kazuomi Ueshima, Seiji Haji
Oncology 2007, 72: 98-103

OBJECTIVE: This study was undertaken to assess the outcome of potentially curative radiofrequency ablation (RFA) therapy for early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with Child-Pugh stage A cirrhosis.

METHODS: This study retrospectively evaluated clinical outcomes in a cohort of 171 Child-Pugh stage A cirrhotic patients who received RFA for naïve HCC within the Milan criteria. The median follow-up period was 36.7 months.

RESULTS: Cumulative survival rates estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method for all patients were 98.8, 91.1 and 76.8% at 1, 3 and 5 years, respectively. Cumulative probabilities of local tumor recurrence at 1, 2 and 3 years were 9.0, 14.1 and 17.7%, respectively. Cumulative survival rates in patients without local tumor recurrence were 96.6, 94.6 and 84.4% at 1, 3 and 5 years, respectively, compared with patients with local tumor recurrence (96.6, 74.8 and 42.1% at 1, 3 and 5 years, respectively; p = 0.0002). Cox regression analysis showed that low serum albumin (p = 0.009, RR 3.04, CI 1.32-6.98), high range of PIVKA-II (prothrombin induced by vitamin K absence or agonist II) (p = 0.025, RR 2.57, CI 1.13-5.89), with multiple (less than 3) nodules (p = 0.021, RR 2.61, CI 1.15-5.91), and with local tumor recurrence (p = 0.004, RR 3.62, CI 1.51-8.69) were significant risk factors for death.

CONCLUSION: Initial complete response of curative RFA therapy in patients with Child-Pugh stage A cirrhosis and early-stage HCC is associated with improved survival. Therefore, clinicians should aim to achieve complete ablation of all detectable HCC nodules with adequate safety margins.

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