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Cancer. 2001 Apr 15;91(8):1479-86.

Experience of 1000 patients who underwent hepatectomy for small hepatocellular carcinoma.

Author information

1
Liver Cancer Institute, Zhong Shan Hospital, Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China. xdzhou2000@yahoo.com.cn

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recently, the implementation of screening programs using alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and ultrasonography in high risk populations has identified increasing numbers of patients with small hepatocellular carcinoma (small HCC). The aim of this study was to summarize the authors' experience in patients who underwent hepatectomy for small HCC and the factors that influence or improve long term survival.

METHODS:

The study included 1000 patients who underwent hepatectomy for small HCC (< or = 5 cm) and compared them with 1366 patients who underwent hepatectomy for large HCC (> 5 cm) during the same period. A Cox proportional-hazards model was used for multivariate analysis of prognostic factors.

RESULTS:

Comparison between patients with small HCC (n = 1000 patients) and patients with large HCC (n = 1366 patients) revealed that those with small HCC had a higher resection rate (93.6% [1000 of 1068 patients] vs. 55.7% [1366 of 2451 patients]; P < 0.01), a higher curative resection rate (80.5% [805 of 1000 patients] vs. 60.7% [829 of 1366 patients]; P < 0.01), a lower operative mortality rate (1.5% [15 of 1000 patients] vs. 3.7% [50 of 1366 patients]; P < 0.01), better differentiation of tumor cells (Edmondson Grade 3-4; 14.9% vs. 20.1%; P < 0.01), a higher incidence of single nodule tumors (82.6% vs. 64.4%; P < 0.01), a higher proportion of well encapsulated tumors (73.3% vs. 46.3%; P < 0.01), a lower incidence of tumor emboli in the portal vein (4.9% vs. 20.8%; P < 0.01), and higher survival rates after undergoing resection (5 years: 62.7% vs. 37.1%; P < 0.01; 10 years: 46.3% vs. 29.2%; P < 0.01). No significant difference was found between survival after undergoing minor resection (n = 949 patients) or lobectomy (n = 51 patients) in patients with small HCC (P > 0.05). Reresection for subclinical recurrence or solitary pulmonary metastasis after small HCC resection was undertaken in 84 patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

Resection is still the modality of first choice for the treatment of patients with small HCC. Minor resection instead of lobectomy was the key to increasing resectability and decreasing operative mortality, and reresection for subclinical recurrence or solitary pulmonary metastasis was important approach to prolonging survival further.

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