Comparison of hepatic resection and transarterial chemoembolization for solitary hepatocellular carcinoma

Dong-Zhi Zhang, Xiao-Dong Wei, Xiao-Peng Wang
World Journal of Gastroenterology: WJG 2015 April 21, 21 (15): 4635-43

AIM: To compare the outcomes of hepatic resection and transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) for solitary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) according to the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) staging system.

METHODS: A consecutive sample of 540 patients with solitary HCC who underwent liver resection (n = 312) or TACE (n = 128) were included in the present study. Baseline characteristics, tumor characteristics, and post-operative complications were compared between the two groups. The Kaplan-Meier method was used for long-term survival analysis. Independent prognostic predictors were identified using the Cox proportional hazards model (univariate and multivariate analyses).

RESULTS: The TACE and liver resection groups had similar baseline demographic and clinicopathological characteristics. The TACE group showed a significantly lower rate of major complications than the liver resection group (3.9% vs 17.4%, P < 0.001). Univariate and multivariate analyses indicated that TACE did not contribute to poor overall survival compared with liver resection; however, a solitary tumor diameter of greater than 6 cm should be considered a risk factor for poor overall survival (HR = 1.328, 95%CI: 1.002-1.783, P = 0.048). The liver resection and TACE groups had comparable overall survival rates at 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years (86.2%, 62.8%, and 44.0% vs 88.3%, 59.8%, and 40.6%, respectively, P = 0.419). In cases with tumor diameters equal to or less than 6 cm, the liver resection group showed a survival benefit compared with the TACE group at 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years (P = 0.030). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival rates of HCC cases with tumor diameters of more than 6 cm were similar among the liver resection and TACE groups (P = 0.467).

CONCLUSION: A tumor diameter of 6 cm should be the cutoff for deciding between liver resection and TACE.

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