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Surgery. 1996 Jan;119(1):40-5.

Surgical resection for small hepatocellular carcinoma.

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  • 1First Department of Surgery, University of Tokyo, Japan.



Surgical resection for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can be curative in selected patients, particularly in those with a solitary small HCC (s-sHCC; 2 cm or less in diameter). However, even these patients often have a risk of tumor recurrence or death from underlying liver dysfunction. Therefore it is important to determine which clinicopathologic features are related to the long-term prognosis after resection of s-sHCC.


Fifty patients with s-sHCC underwent partial hepatectomy at our department between 1977 and 1992. Six (12%) died of liver failure in hospital after operation. Eight clinicopathologic features were examined in the remaining 44 patients with regard to their long-term prognosis by use of univariate and multivariate analyses.


The 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates were 90%, 75%, and 53%, respectively. The corresponding disease-free survival rates were 80%, 53%, and 30%, respectively. None of the following parameters was significantly related to survival rate or disease-free survival rate: presence of vascular invasion or capsular formation, the distance of free surgical margin (1 cm or more or not), serum alpha-fetoprotein level, positive hepatitis B surface antigen, and preoperative transarterial embolization. Complicated liver function was the only significant factor related to survival rate and disease-free survival rate.


A good hepatic reserve is an important factor in treating patients with s-sHCC by surgical resection, even for a long-term prognosis. Liver transplantation should be considered for patients with severe cirrhosis and s-sHCC, even though a curative resection might be possible.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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