Solitary large hepatocellular carcinoma: a specific subtype of hepatocellular carcinoma with good outcome after hepatic resection

Lian-Yue Yang, Feng Fang, Di-Peng Ou, Wei Wu, Zhi-Jun Zeng, Fan Wu
Annals of Surgery 2009, 249 (1): 118-23

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate and compare the clinical and pathologic characteristics and outcomes after hepatic resection of large hepatocellular carcinoma (SLHCC), small HCC (SHCC), and nodular HCC (NHCC).

SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Traditional viewpoint insists that the classification and prognosis of HCC are determined by the size of HCC. As a result, large HCC is often considered as advanced and unresectable. However, we have observed a unique type of HCC-SLHCC, which is large in size but exhibits good clinical, pathologic, and molecular biologic characteristics as well as prognosis.

METHODS: From January 1992 to December 2002, a total of 481 consecutive patients were diagnosed with HCC and received hepatic resection. In this series of patients, the clinical and pathologic data, surgical outcome, and long-term survival of patients with SLHCC (group A, n = 260) were analyzed retrospectively and compared with patients who had SHCC (group B, n = 135) or NHCC (group C, n = 86). Postresection prognostic factors of HCC were also evaluated by univariate and multivariate analysis using Cox's proportional hazards model.

RESULTS: The clinical and pathologic characteristics of SLHCC and SHCC were similar except for tumor necrosis and tumor size. Patients of SLHCC had significantly longer operative time, higher intraoperative blood loss, higher intraoperative blood transfusion, and higher postoperative morbidity than SHCC. However, the 2 groups were similar in duration of hospital stay and overall morbidity. Overall survival and disease-free survival in group A and group B were similar and significantly better than those in group C. Multivariate analysis revealed that large amount of intraoperative blood transfusion and vein invasion were independently significant factors for overall survival of patients with HCC.

CONCLUSION: The clinical and pathologic characteristics and the outcome after hepatic resection of SLHCC are similar to that of SHCC, but significantly better than NHCC. We propose SLHCC as a specific subtype of HCC and hepatic resection as its choice of standard treatment.

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