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Am J Clin Oncol. 1999 Feb;22(1):22-8.

Metastatic nonresectable fibrolamellar hepatoma: prognostic features and natural history.

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Division of Radiation Oncology, Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, Baltimore, Maryland 21287-8922, USA.


Fibrolamellar hepatoma has a clinical course distinct from that of typical histologic hepatocellular carcinoma. The clinical behavior and prognostic features of nonresectable metastatic fibrolamellar hepatoma have not previously been fully addressed and are the focus of this report. Retrospective chart review of all patients (n = 17) with nonresectable metastatic fibrolamellar hepatoma referred to the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center from 1985 through 1990 was carried out. All patients had hepatic parenchymal involvement and regional node metastases at the time of referral. Metastases were limited to regional nodes in four patients. The remaining patients had lung metastases (n = 4), peritoneal metastases (n = 5), or both (n = 4). To assess the impact of the fibrolamellar variant, characteristic-matched control patients with typical histologic hepatocellular carcinoma were obtained from the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group database. Actuarial median survival from treatment was 14 months in the patients with fibrolamellar hepatoma and 7.7 months in the patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (p < 0.001). Karnofsky performance status and hepatic tumor volume at time of referral were important prognostic features. Multimodality treatment included radiation therapy and radiolabelled antibody, cisplatin-based chemotherapy, or both; results are discussed. Thirteen patients died, nine of liver failure, three of metastatic disease, and one of sepsis. Fibrolamellar histologic type, liver function tests, tumor volume, and patient performance status were significant predictors of survival. The cause of death in fibrolamellar hepatoma differs considerably from that observed in typical histologic hepatocellular carcinoma in the United States. The techniques of treatment of this uncommon disease were modeled after advances in the multimodality treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma and are discussed. Median survival was 14 months in patients with metastatic nonresectable fibrolamellar hepatoma.

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