Preoperative transcatheter arterial chemoembolization for resectable hepatocellular carcinoma: a single center analysis

Lei Jianyong, Zhong Jinjing, Wang Wentao, Yan Lunan, Zhou Qiao, Li Bo, Wen Tianfu, Xu Minqing, Yang Jiaying, Wei Yongang
Annals of Hepatology 2014, 13 (4): 394-402

BACKGROUND AND AIM: The effect of preoperative transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) on the short- and long-term outcome of resectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is controversial. We conducted a retrospective evaluation of this aspect using data from our center.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A total of 656 consecutive patients who underwent curative resection of HCC were divided into two groups based on the preoperative TACE: the liver resection (LR) group (405 cases) and the TACE-LR group (183 cases). Overall and disease-free survival curves were constructed using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared with the log-rank test. The significance of differences in survival was tested using a log-rank test. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify the factors that best predicted overall survival or tumor free survival.

RESULTS: Although the cost of LR showed no difference between groups, the overall cost was significantly higher in the combined group than in the LR group (P < 0.001). The complication rate after resection was also comparable between the two groups. In regard to long-term outcome, the 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival rates were 83.7, 68.9 and 57.5%, respectively, after direct liver resection and 80.9, 65.0 and 54.1%, respectively, after combined TACE and resection (P = 0.739). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year recurrence- free survival rates were also comparable between two groups (P = 0.205). Both univariate analysis and multivariate analysis showed that macro-vascular invasion was the factor that best predicted overall survival or tumor-free survival rate.

CONCLUSION: Preoperative TACE has comparable intraoperative and short-term outcomes but more overall cost due to repeated TACE, and the procedure did not significantly improve the overall or tumor-free survival rate. Preoperative TACE should not, therefore, be recommended as a routine procedure before resection for resectable HCCs particularly in cases due to underlying hepatitis B virus (HBV).

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