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World J Surg. 2014 Feb;38(2):490-6. doi: 10.1007/s00268-013-2290-4.

Surgical outcomes in hepatocellular carcinoma patients with portal vein tumor thrombosis.

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Department of Surgery, The University of Hong Kong, 102 Pok Fu Lam Road, Hong Kong, China,



Different approaches to surgical treatment of portal vein tumor thrombosis (PVTT) have been advocated. This study investigated the outcomes of different surgical approaches in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients with PVTT.


We reviewed prospectively collected data for all patients who underwent hepatectomy for HCC at our hospital between December 1989 and December 2010. Patients were excluded from analysis if they had extrahepatic disease, PVTT reaching the level of the superior mesenteric vein, or hepatectomy with a positive resection margin. The remaining patients were divided into three groups for comparison: group 1, with ipsilateral PVTT resected in a hepatectomy; group 2, with PVTT extending to or beyond the portal vein bifurcation, treated by en bloc resection followed by portal vein reconstruction; group 3, with PVTT extending to or beyond the portal vein bifurcation, treated by thrombectomy.


A total of 88 patients, with a median age of 54 years, were included in the analysis. Group 2 patients were younger, with a median age of 43.5 years versus 57 in group 1 and 49 in group 3 (p = 0.017). Group 1 patients had higher preoperative serum alpha-fetoprotein levels, with a median of 8,493 ng/mL versus 63.25 in group 2 and 355 in group 3 (p = 0.004), and shorter operation time, with a median of 467.5 min versus 663.5 in group 2 and 753 in group 3 (p = 0.018). No patient had thrombus in the main portal vein. Two (2.8 %) hospital deaths occurred in group 1 and one (10 %) in group 2, but none in group 3 (p = 0.440). The rates of complication in groups 1, 2, and 3 were 31.9, 50.0, and 71.4 %, respectively (p = 0.079). The median overall survival durations were 10.91, 9.4, and 8.58 months, respectively (p = 0.962), and the median disease-free survival durations were 4.21, 3.78, and 1.51 months, respectively (p = 0.363). The groups also had similar patterns of disease recurrence (intrahepatic: 33.8 vs. 28.6 vs. 40.0 %; extrahepatic: 16.9 vs. 14.3 vs. 0 %; both: 28.2 vs. 42.9 vs. 40.0 %; no recurrence: 21.1 vs. 14.3 vs. 20.0 %; p = 0.836).


The three approaches have similar outcomes in terms of survival, complication, and recurrence. Effective adjuvant treatments need to be developed to counteract the high incidence of recurrence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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