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Surgical treatment of recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma based on the mode of recurrence: repeat hepatic resection or ablation are good choices for patients with recurrent multicentric cancer.

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  • 1First Department of Surgery, Yamanashi Medical University, Tamaho, Nakakoma, Yamanashi 409-3898, Japan.


Hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) often recur after curvative resection. Recurrence in the remnant liver originates from intrahepatic metastasis (IM) from the primary resected tumor, and/or from multicentric (MC) occurrence. In order to achieve better survival after intrahepatic recurrence in HCC patients, we have surgically treated patients according to the recurrence pattern. In this study, we investigated the advantage of repeat surgery for MC recurrent HCC. The subjects were 176 patients who had undergone primary macroscopically complete tumor removal for HCC at our department from 1984 to 1999. Differential diagnosis of IM and MC recurrence was done by pathological analysis. Twenty-nine of the 149 patients with recurrence (19.5%) underwent a total of 31 second and third operations. Of the 29 patients, 18 had MC (14 received repeat hepatectomy and 4, microwave tissue coagulation [MTC]), 7 had IM (4 had repeat hepatectomy and 3, MTC), and, in 4 patients, pathological investigation failed to determine the mode of recurrence. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates for MC patients after the repeat operations were 100%, 69.7%, and 58.1%, respectively, and the 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates for the IM patients were 57.1%, 14.3%, and 14.3%, respectively. Survival after the repeat operation was significantly better in the MC group than in the IM group (P = 0.0016). Moreover, there was no significant difference between survival in the MC group after a repeat operation and survival in control patients after an initial hepatectomy (P = 0.9282). These results indicated that patients with resectable or ablative recurrent MC HCC have almost the same survival benefit after repeat operations as patients who undergo initial curative resection of HCC.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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