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World J Surg Oncol. 2013 Sep 22;11:236. doi: 10.1186/1477-7819-11-236.

Successful resection of hepatocellular cancer not amenable to Milan criteria and durable complete remission induced by systemic polichemotherapy after development of metastases - should we think about revising the current treatment guidelines in selected patients?

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  • 1Department of Oncology, Division of Gastrointestinal Malignancies, University Hospital Center Zagreb, Kispaticeva 12, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.



To refresh clinical diagnostic and therapeutic dilemmas in patients presenting with hepatocellular cancer (HCC) and to report a rare success of systemic polichemotherapy in metastatic HCC.


Case report of a patient with successfully resected HCC although initially deemed inoperable according to current guidelines, and who was successfully treated by systemic polichemotherapy after development of metastatic disease, resulting in a sustained complete remission.


We describe a 71-year-old female with HCC initially treated by atypical liver resection, although not amenable to initial surgery according to current treatment guidelines, which resulted in 6 months disease-free interval. After development of pulmonary metastases, the patient was treated by systemic polichemotherapy, due to local unavailability of novel biologic agents. After 3 months of chemotherapy biochemical remission was confirmed, and after 10 months of active treatment complete radiological remission was verified according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) criteria, now exceeding 9 months in duration.


There is an increasing body of evidence that criteria for surgical interventions in HCC should be revised and expanded, and our case is an example of such an approach. Although novel biologic therapies are not widely available in all regions of the world due to their cost, currently there are no hard recommendations for use of chemotherapy in such areas. Since this is a large problem in clinical practice, we conclude that chemotherapy should be offered to selected patients of good performance status if novel agents are unavailable.

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