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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Oct;32(7):851-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2010.04414.x.

Meta-analysis: interferon improves outcomes following ablation or resection of hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, 77555-0764, USA.



Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is third most common cause of tumour-related death in the US with hepatitis C virus (HCV) the most common aetiology. Surgical resection and tumour ablation are curative in patients who cannot be transplanted. With native liver having cirrhosis, HCC recurrence is a potential problem.


To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies evaluating efficacy of IFN to prevent HCC recurrence after its curative treatment in HCV-related cirrhosis.


Ten studies (n = 645, 301 treated with IFN) on the use of IFN after resection or ablation of HCV-associated HCC were analysed.


Pooled data showed benefit of IFN for HCC prevention with OR (95% CI) of 0.26 (0.15-0.45); P < 0.00001. The proportion of patients surviving at 5 years (n = 505 in 6 studies) was in favour of IFN with OR of 0.31 [(95% CI 0.21-0.46); P < 0.00001]. Data were homogeneous for HCC recurrence (chi(2) 12.05, P = 0.21) and survival (chi(2) 6.93, P = 0.44). The benefit of IFN was stronger with sustained virological response compared with nonresponders for HCC recurrence [0.19 (0.06-0.60); P = 0.005] and survival [0.31 (0.11-0.90); P = 0.03].


Interferon treatment after curative resection or ablation of HCC in HCV-related cirrhotics prevents HCC recurrence and improves survival.

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