Re-resection for metachronous primary hepatocellular carcinoma: is it justified?

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In management of intrahepatic recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), controversy exists over the efficacy of re-resection for patients with preserved liver function. This study aimed to determine the long-term outcomes of re-resection in these patients.


Prospectively collected data of 47 patients having re-resection (Group R) with curative intent for metachronous primary HCC between December 1989 and December 2007 were compared with those of 863 patients having primary resection (Group P) in the same period. There was no overlap of patient. All patients had gross tumour-free resection margin.


The two groups had comparable demographics. Group R had a median age of 58 years (range, 48–67 years), and had almost all patients belonging to Child-Pugh class A (46/47). Median blood loss was 0.66 L (range, 0.3–1.28 L) for Group P and 0.37 L (range, 0.13–0.92 L) for Group R. Both groups had median blood transfusion rate at 0. Median operative time was 365 min (range, 240–490 min) for Group P and 270 min (range, 193–360 min) for Group R. Group R had significantly fewer tumour nodules and the only one operative death. Median follow-up was 41 months for Group P and 37 months for Group R (P= 0.133). The two groups displayed no significant differences in disease-free survival and overall survival. Univariate analysis showed that re-resection was not a significant risk factor in overall survival.


Re-resection for metachronous primary HCC for patients with preserved liver function can achieve favourable survival outcome.

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