Source Department of Hepatobillary Surgery, General Hospital of Chinese People's Liberation Army, Beijing 100853, China (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
BACKGROUND: This retrospective study was undertaken to analyze the outcome of hepatic resection in fifty-two patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) between January 2004 and December 2008.
METHODS: Among these fifty-two patients, the mean diameter of the tumor was 7.9 cm (4.4 - 15.5 cm, median 8.5 cm) prior to the first transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE). After 1 - 6 times of TACE (median 2), the median tumor diameter was reduced to 4.2 cm (0 - 8.4 cm) prior to resection. The duration between the last TACE treatment and sequential resection varied from one to six months (median 2.7 months). Serum a-fetoprotein (AFP) levels were abnormal in thirty-eight out of the fifty-two patients. In AFP producing HCCs, AFP levels returned to normal (≤ 400 µg/L) in twenty-five out of thirty-eight patients. Hepatic segmentectomy, multiple hepatic segmentectomy or partial hepatic resection were performed in forty-five patients, two underwent extended left hemihepatectomy, and one underwent right posterior branch portal vein thrombectomy. One patient received a right hemihepatectomy and three had left hemihepatectomies.
RESULTS: Complete tumor radiological response (CR) occurred in five patients (9.6%). There were three cases of perioperative mortality in the fifty-two patients (5.8%). One patient underwent salvaged orthotopic liver transplantation, and twenty-one patients observed tumor recurrence within two years. The 1-, 3- and 5-year survival rates of the fifty-two patients were 77.0% (n = 40), 55.0% (n = 29), and 52.0% (n = 28), respectively. The median survival time after surgery was 49 months (95% confidence interval 7.5 - 52.7 months).
CONCLUSIONS: TACE treatment provides a better chance for HCC resection in patients initially diagnosed with unresectable HCC. Furthermore, liver resection should be performed once the tumor is downstaged to be compatible for successful resection.