Early intrahepatic recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma after hepatectomy treated with re-hepatectomy, ablation or chemoembolization: a prospective cohort study

K Wang, G Liu, J Li, Z Yan, Y Xia, X Wan, Y Ji, W Y Lau, M Wu, F Shen
European Journal of Surgical Oncology 2015, 41 (2): 236-42

AIMS: To observe the outcomes of various treatments for patients with early intrahepatic recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after partial hepatectomy.

METHODS: A total of 629 patients with intrahepatic recurrent HCC within Milan criteria following hepatectomy were prospectively collected between November 2004 and May 2010. Overall survival (OS) and recurrence to death survival (RTDS) were analyzed by the Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test. Cox regression analysis was used for multivariate analyses.

RESULTS: The 5-year OS and RTDS rates were 64.5%, 43.0%; 37.0%, 26.7%; 27.7% and 8.3% for patients who received re-hepatectomy (n = 128), percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (PRFA, n = 162) and transarterial chemoembolization (TACE, n = 339) (re-hepatectomy vs. TACE, P < 0.001, <0.001; vs. PRFA, P = 0.005, 0.008; PRFA vs. TACE, P < 0.001, <0.001). The independent predictors of OS and RTDS were tumor number (hazard ratio: 1.54, 95% confidence interval: 1.18-2.00; 1.57, 1.21-2.04), alpha fetoprotein >20 ng/mL (1.64, 1.24-2.17; 1.66, 1.26-2.20), presence of varices (1.69, 1.28-2.22; 1.61, 1.23-2.10) and Edmondson-Steiner grade III-IV (1.66, 1.17-2.35; 1.70, 1.20-2.40) at the initial stage; and tumor number (1.34, 1.04-1.73; 1.32, 1.03-1.70), time to recurrence (TTR) (3.46, 2.58-4.65; 1.59, 1.19-2.14) and treatment for recurrence (TACE: 3.18, 2.16-4.66; 2.95, 2.02-4.31; PRFA: 1.49, 0.97-2.29; 1.44, 0.94-2.19).

CONCLUSIONS: For early intrahepatic recurrent HCC, re-hepatectomy achieved best outcome. It produced similar result as PRFA for patients with more invasive primary tumors and underlying cirrhosis/varices. TACE had worst prognosis which was only suitable for multifocal recurrence and TTR ≤1 year.

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