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J Gastrointest Surg. 2007 May;11(5):619-25.

Prognostic factors after resection for hepatocellular carcinoma in nonfibrotic or moderately fibrotic liver. A 116-case European series.

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Department of Surgery and Liver Transplantation, Hôpital de la Conception, 147 Boulevard Baille, 13385 Marseille Cedex 5, France.


The purpose of this study was to identify factors influencing prognosis after resection for hepatocellular carcinoma in the noncirrhotic liver and to measure the impact of moderate fibrosis on presentation and prognosis. A series of 116 primary procedures were performed for hepatocellular carcinoma in the noncirrhotic liver. These cases accounted for 42% of hepatic resections performed for hepatocellular carcinoma during the study period (1987-2005). Seventy-seven cases (58%) occurred in patients with nonfibrotic livers (Metavir score F0). The mean age was 61 years. The sex ratio was 3.5, with a female predominance before 50 years. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus infection was found in 30% of patients. Symptoms were present in 64% of cases. Elevated serum alpha fetoprotein levels were observed in 44% of cases. Procedures involved minor hepatectomy in 40 cases, major hepatectomy in 72 cases, and transplantation in 4 cases. Postoperative mortality was 6% and morbidity was 31%. Complete resection was achieved in 90% of cases. The tumor was isolated in 72% of cases. The mean tumor diameter was 10.6 cm. Vascular invasion was observed in 48% of cases. Hepatocellular carcinoma in the nonfibrotic liver was associated with younger age and female sex, but there was no difference with other hepatocellular carcinoma with regard to histological or prognostic features. With a median follow-up of 79 months, overall survival was 40% for a median of 41 months. Multivariate analysis identified incomplete resection, vascular invasion, and HBV infection as independent factors of poor prognosis. In case of recurrence, repeat resection was feasible in 30% of cases with 69% survival at 5 years. Although hepatocellular carcinoma in the noncirrhotic liver is generally diagnosed at an advanced stage, its resectability remains high. As a result, hepatocellular carcinoma in the noncirrhotic liver accounts for a large proportion of cases in surgical series and has a better prognosis than hepatocellular carcinoma in the cirrhotic liver. Vascular invasion, incomplete resection, and HBV infection are independent factors of poor prognosis.

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