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Hepatogastroenterology. 2001 Sep-Oct;48(41):1421-4.

Surgical treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma with direct removal of the tumor thrombus in the main portal vein.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, National Cancer Center Hospital East, 6-5-1 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba, 277-8577 Japan.



Hepatocellular carcinoma with tumor thrombus in the main portal vein is generally associated with a poor prognosis. If the liver function tolerated the hepatic resection, we aggressively selected surgical treatment.


We performed surgical treatment in 18 of 72 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma with tumor thrombus in the main portal vein. We analyzed the prognostic factors and survival rate of the surgical treatment group.


The overall cumulative survival rates following the operation at 1 and 2 years were 48% and 34%, respectively. No patients died within 30 days of the operation. An univariate survival analysis revealed that intrahepatic metastases (P = 0.013), tumor differentiation (P = 0.011) and operative curability (P = 0.0058) had significant effects on survival. For the 6 patients with a complete resection, the cumulative survival rates at 1 and 2 years were 75% and 75%, respectively. In the 3 of 5 patients who died within 90 postoperative days, incomplete removal of the tumor thrombus in the portal vein or hepatic vein caused early recurrence and death.


If the liver function tolerates the hepatic resection, hepatectomy of the main tumor combined with removal of tumor thrombus in the main portal vein is an effective treatment. This is especially true in patients where a long life is made possible by a complete resection of the main tumor, intrahepatic metastases and tumor thrombus. An important feature of this operation is to attempt complete removal of the tumor thrombus so as to prevent early recurrence and death.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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