Critical appraisal of the clinical and pathologic predictors of survival after resection of large hepatocellular carcinoma

Timothy M. Pawlik, Ronnie T. Poon, Eddie K. Abdalla, Daria Zorzi, Iwao Ikai, Steven A. Curley, David M. Nagorney, Jacques Belghiti, Irene Oi-Lin Ng, Yoshio Yamaoka, Gregory Y. Lauwers, Jean Nicolas Vauthey, John Brems, Burr Ridee, Scott Helton, Anton Bilchik, William Chapman

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199 Scopus citations


Hypothesis: A subset of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with a diameter of 10 cm or larger may benefit from hepatic resection. Design: Retrospective study of a multi-institutional database. Setting: Five major hepatobiliary centers. Patients: We identified 300 patients who underwent hepatic resection for HCC 10 cm or larger. Main Outcome Measures: Clinical and pathologic data were collected, and prognostic factors were evaluated by univariate and multivariate analyses. Patient survival was stratified according to a clinical scoring system and pathologic T classification. Results: The perioperative mortality rate was 5%. At a median follow-up of 32 months, the median survival was 20.3 months, and the 5-year actuarial survival rate was 27%. Four clinical factors-α-fetoprotein of 1000 ng/mL or higher, multiple tumor nodules, the presence of major vascular invasion, and the presence of severe fibrosis-were significant predictors of poor survival (all P<.05). Patients were assigned a clinical score according to the following risk factors: 1, no factor; 2, one or two factors; or 3, three or four factors. On the basis of the clinical score, patients could be stratified into only 2 distinct prognostic groups: no factor (score of 1) vs 1 or more factors (score of 2 or 3) (P<.001). In contrast, when patients were stratified according to pathologic T classification, 3 distinct groups were identified: T1 vs T2 vs T3 and T4 combined (P<.001). Fifty-six percent of the patients with a clinical score of 2 and 20% of patients with a clinical score of 3 actually had T1 or T2 disease on pathologic examination. Conclusions: Patients with large HCCs should be considered for liver resection as this treatment is associated with a 5-year survival rate exceeding 25%. Clinical predictors should not be used to exclude patients from surgical resection because these factors do not reliably predict outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-458
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005


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