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World J Surg. 2008 Oct;32(10):2223-9. doi: 10.1007/s00268-008-9688-4.

Hepatic resection is justified for elderly patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Surgical Oncology and Regulation of Organ Function, Miyazaki University School of Medicine, 5200 Kihara, Kiyotake, Miyazaki, Japan.



Hepatic resection is one of the main treatment modalities for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); however, surgery is generally stressful and often is avoided for elderly patients. This retrospective study was designed to determine whether the indications for hepatic resection in younger patients with HCC are applicable to elderly patients.


Subjects were 294 patients in whom 319 hepatic resections were performed for HCC (male/female ratio, 238/81; age range, 18-83 years). The patients were divided into two groups according to age at the time of surgery: 70 years or older (n = 109) and 69 years or younger (n = 210). Surgical strategy and postoperative follow-up methods did not differ between groups. The incidence and severity of postoperative complications classified by the Clavien system were compared between the two groups. Postoperative survival was compared between the two groups and between subgroups based on Japan Integrated Staging (JIS) scores. HCC-related death rates also were compared.


No significant between-group difference was found in background liver function or type of hepatic resection. Differences were found in performance status and type of hepatitis virus infection. No difference was observed in the incidence or severity of postoperative complications. Postoperative survival was similar between the two age-based study groups and between the JIS-based subgroups. HCC-related death rates did not differ between groups.


The absence of differences in postoperative outcomes between groups suggests that hepatic resection is justified for HCC in selected patients aged 70 years or older.

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