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Ann Surg Oncol. 2009 Apr;16(4):848-55. doi: 10.1245/s10434-008-0282-7. Epub 2009 Jan 22.

Liver resection improves the survival of patients with multiple hepatocellular carcinomas.

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Department of Surgery, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan.



According to current guidelines of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treatment, multiple HCCs are usually not suitable for surgical resection. However, surgical resection is still possible for patients with multiple HCCs. The role of hepatic resection vs transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) for multiple HCCs should be further clarified.


We retrospectively enrolled 1065 patients with multiple HCCs. Among them, 294 received surgical resection, 367 received transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), and 404 received chemotherapy or supportive care. Three staging systems (TNM, CLIP, and BCLC) were used for comparison of stage-specific survival between different treatment modalities.


The median survival of multiple HCC patients who received surgical resection was 37.9 months, while it was 17.3 months in TACE group, and 2.8 months in supportive group (P < .001). The 1-year, 3-year, 5-year survival rates for surgical group were 77.4%, 51.9%, and 36.6%, respectively. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis demonstrated that patients who received surgical resections had the best survival, followed by TACE and supportive care. For patients of the same stage, surgical resection yields better results than TACE. Surgery could offer better survival than TACE for patients either within or beyond Milan's criteria.


Our results indicate that if patients have preserved liver functions, hepatic resection is helpful, even for patients with multiple HCCs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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