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The prognosis for patients with hepatocellular cancer (HCC) undergoing transarterial therapy (TACE/TAE) is variable.We carried out Cox regression analysis of prognostic factors using a training dataset of 114 patients treated with TACE/TAE. A simple prognostic score (PS) was developed, validated using an independent dataset of 167 patients and compared with Child–Pugh, CLIP, Okuda, Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) and MELD.Low albumin, high bilirubin or α-fetoprotein (AFP) and large tumour size were associated with a two- to threefold increase in the risk of death. Patients were assigned one point if albumin <36 g/dl, bilirubin >17 μmol/l, AFP >400 ng/ml or size of dominant tumour >7 cm. The Hepatoma arterial-embolisation prognostic (HAP) score was calculated by summing these points. Patients were divided into four risk groups based on their HAP scores; HAP A, B, C and D (scores 0, 1, 2 and >2, respectively). The median survival for the groups A, B, C and D was 27.6, 18.5, 9.0 and 3.6 months, respectively. The HAP score validated well with the independent dataset and performed better than other scoring systems in differentiating high- and low-risk groups.The HAP score predicts outcomes in patients with HCC undergoing TACE/TAE and may help guide treatment selection, allow stratification in clinical trials and facilitate meaningful comparisons across reported series.