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Hepatology. 2004 Dec;40(6):1352-60.

Initial response to percutaneous ablation predicts survival in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Liver Unit, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.


Outcome predictors in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who are treated with percutaneous ablation are ill defined, and it is unknown if successful therapy is associated with improved survival. In our study, 282 cirrhotic patients with early nonsurgical HCC were treated with percutaneous ablation during a 15-year period. Single tumors were seen in 244 patients, and 2 to 3 nodules were seen in 38 patients. Initial complete response was achieved in 192 patients and was independently related to the size of the main tumor (P = .015) and tumor stage (P = .0001) (< or =2 cm, 96%; 2.1-3 cm, 78%; >3 cm, 56%; 2-3 nodules, 46%). At the end of follow-up, 80 patients presented sustained complete response. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates were 87%, 51%, and 27%, respectively. The independent predictors of survival were Child-Turcotte-Pugh class (P = .0001) and initial complete response (P = .006). Child-Turcotte-Pugh class A patients with initial complete response achieved 42% survival at 5 years; this figure increased to 63% in patients with tumors 2 cm or smaller. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that initial complete response to percutaneous ablation is associated with an improved survival in both Child-Turcotte-Pugh class A and B patients with nonsurgical HCC. Accordingly, initial complete tumor necrosis should be considered a relevant therapeutic target irrespective of tumor size and liver function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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