1Division of Internal Medicine, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Bologna, Italy. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2Division of Internal Medicine, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Bologna, Italy.
3Division of Radiology, Department of Digestive Diseases and Internal Medicine, Sant'Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Bologna, Italy.
Few data exist on real-life adherence to international guidelines for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. We analysed the rate of adherence to American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases guidelines, to identify reasons for discrepancy with treatments performed in our centre.
227 consecutive cirrhotics with a first hepatocellular carcinoma diagnosis (2005-2010) were retrospectively evaluated and stratified based on Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer system: 126 early, 50 intermediate, 40 advanced, and 11 end stage.
Early hepatocellular carcinomas were theoretically eligible for resection (n=27), liver transplantation (n=36), and percutaneous treatment (n=63). In practice, 15/27 (55.5%), 31/36 (86.1%), and 22/63 (34.9%) respectively were treated as recommended. Reasons for discrepancy were age/comorbidity, tumour location, ultrasound visibility, surgical contraindications. Transarterial chemoembolisation was performed in 25/126 early hepatocellular carcinomas (19.8%), resection in 11/63 early hepatocellular carcinomas eligible for percutaneous treatment (17.5%). Transarterial chemoembolisation was excluded in 16/50 intermediate hepatocellular carcinomas (32%). Resection or transarterial chemoembolisation was performed in 6/40 advanced hepatocellular carcinomas (15%).
Overall, 60% of patients were treated according to American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases guidelines. Approximately 28% of hepatocellular carcinomas were "under-treated" and 7% treated more aggressively than recommended. Peculiarities of individual patients can lead the multidisciplinary team to personalise real-life treatments.