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Ann Surg. 2013 May;257(5):929-37. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e31828329b8.

A snapshot of the effective indications and results of surgery for hepatocellular carcinoma in tertiary referral centers: is it adherent to the EASL/AASLD recommendations?: an observational study of the HCC East-West study group.

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  • 1Liver Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery, University of Milan-School of Medicine, Humanitas Clinical and Research Center, Rozzano, Milan, Italy.



The aim of this study was to investigate in a retrospective setting the patients' profile and results of those undergoing surgery for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in high-volume surgical centers throughout the world.


Whether surgery for HCC is a suitable approach and for which subset of patients is still controversial. The EASL/AASLD (European Association for the Study of Liver Disease/American Association for the Study of Liver Disease) guidelines, based on the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) classification, leave little room for hepatic resection; inversely, other reports promote its wider application.


On the basis of the network "Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Eastern & Western Experiences," data for 2046 consecutive patients resected for HCC in 10 centers were collected. According to the BCLC classification, 1012 (50%) were BCLC 0-A, 737 (36%) BCLC B, and 297 (14%) BCLC C. Analysis of overall survival and disease-free survival and multivariate analysis of prognostic factors were performed.


The 90-day mortality rate was 2.7%. Overall morbidity was 42%. After a median follow-up of 25 months (range, 1-209 months), the 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival rates were 95%, 80%, and 61% for BCLC 0-A; 88%, 71%, and 57% for BCLC B; and 76%, 49%, and 38% for BCLC C (P = 0.000). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year disease-free survival rates were as follows: 77%, 41%, and 21% for BCLC 0-A; 63%, 38%, and 27% for BCLC B; and 46%, 28%, and 18% for BCLC C (P = 0.000). The multivariate analysis identified bilirubin, cirrhosis, esophageal varices, tumor size, and macrovascular invasion to be statistical and independent prognostic factors for overall survival.


This large multicentric survey shows that surgery is in current practice widely applied among patients with multinodular, large, and macrovascular invasive HCC, providing acceptable short- and long-term results and justifying an update of the EASL/AASLD therapeutic guidelines in this sense.

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