Factors affecting prognosis of small hepatocellular carcinoma in Taiwanese patients following hepatic resection
C-J Ko | S-Y Chien | C-T Chou | L-S Chen | M-L Chen | Y-L Chen
BACKGROUND: Small hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) affects millions of individuals worldwide. Surveillance of high-risk patients increases the early detection of small HCC.
OBJECTIVE: To identify prognostic factors affecting the overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) of patients with small HCC.
METHODS: The present prospective study enrolled 140 Taiwanese patients with stage I or stage II small HCC. Clinical parameters of interest included operation type, tumour size, tumour histology, Child- Pugh class, presence of hepatitis B surface antigen and liver cirrhosis, hepatitis C status, alpha-fetoprotein, total bilirubin and serum albumin levels, and administration of antiviral and salvage therapies.
RESULTS: Tumour size correlated significantly with poorer OS in patients with stage I small HCC (P=0.014); however, patients with stage II small HCC experienced a significantly poorer RFS (P=0.033). OS rates did not differ significantly between patients with stage I and stage II small HCC. Tumour margins, tumour histology and cirrhosis did not significantly affect OS or RFS (P>0.05).
DISCUSSION: Increasing tumour size has generally been associated with poorer prognoses in cases of HCC. The present study verified the relationship between small HCC tumour size and OS; however, a reduction in OS with increasing tumour size was demonstrated for patients with stage I - but not for stage II - small HCC.
CONCLUSION: Patients with stage II small HCC may benefit from aggressive surveillance for tumour recurrence and appropriate salvage treatment. Further studies are needed for additional stratification of stage I patients to identify those at increased risk of death.