Complete necrosis after transarterial chemoembolization could predict prolonged survival in patients with recurrent intrahepatic hepatocellular carcinoma after curative resection

Ju Hyun Shim, Kang Mo Kim, Young-Joo Lee, Gi-Young Ko, Hyun-Ki Yoon, Kyu-Bo Sung, Kwang-Min Park, Sung-Gyu Lee, Young-Suk Lim, Han Chu Lee, Young-Hwa Chung, Yung Sang Lee, Dong Jin Suh
Annals of Surgical Oncology 2010, 17 (3): 869-77

BACKGROUND: We explored the predictors of response to transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) in patients with recurrent intrahepatic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after hepatectomy and investigated the survival of these patients according to the response to TACE.

METHODS: We analyzed data from 199 consecutive HCC patients who underwent curative liver resection and who later received repeat TACE for intrahepatic HCC recurrence.

RESULTS: Of 199 patients, 139 (69.8%) achieved complete necrosis (CN) of HCC after repeated TACE (mean TACE session number, 1.3) and the other 60 (30.2%) (non-CN group) did not achieve CN. At hepatectomy, the CN group showed significantly smaller proportions of tumor capsular invasion, microvascular invasion, and pathologic tumor-node-metastasis stage III or IV HCCs. At first TACE, the CN group showed a significantly greater proportion of patients with time to recurrence > or = 1 year, Child-Pugh class A, serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels < 200 ng/mL, tumor size < 3 cm, solitary tumors, and nodular tumor types; portal vein invasion were less common than seen in the non-CN group. After multivariate analysis, tumor size < 3 cm and a single tumor at first TACE were independently related to attainment of CN after TACE. Median survival after first TACE was significantly longer in the CN group (48.9 versus 17.0 months). In a Cox regression model, CN after TACE was an independent predictor of favorable survival outcome after first TACE.

CONCLUSIONS: CN after repeat TACE for postresection intrahepatic recurrence was attained more commonly in patients with smaller tumor size and lower tumor number at first TACE and favored longer survival in recurrent patients.

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