Indications for Portal Vein Embolization Combined with Major Hepatic Resection for Advanced-Stage Hepatocellular Carcinomas: A Preliminary Clinical Study

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Background:Criteria for selection of patients for portal vein embolization (PVE) before major hepatectomy for advanced-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have not been clarified in detail. This study was aimed at defining those benefiting from this therapy in a retrospective fashion.Patients and Methods:Firstly, to determine liver functional criteria for applying this approach 26 patients with stage III (17 patients) or IV (9 patients) disease, who underwent major hepatectomies after PVE, were divided into those without major complications (20 patients) and a postoperative liver failure group (6 patients). Clinical, analytical, and hemodynamic parameters obtained before and after PVE were compared between the groups. Secondly, to define the application of this approach with regard to tumor progression survival rates of patients were also obtained, taking into account factors which affect tumor development, i.e. lesion size, intrahepatic metastasis and vascular invasion.Results:With regard to liver function 4 nonindications were obtained: (1) a portal pressure measured right after PVE >25 cm H2O; (2) post-PVE serum hyaluronate >200 ng/ml; (3) pre-PVE serum cholinesterase <150 U/l; (4) post-PVE serum cholinesterase <150 U/l. In view of the tumor progression in patients with HCCs featuring intrahepatic metastasis spread to more than 3 segments (IM3) 1-, 3- and 5-year survival rates were low (42.9, 28.6 and 0%) with a statistical significance, compared to those in patients with intrahepatic metastasis limited in the same lobe (76.9, 46.2 and 24.6%).Conclusions:When laboratory data fulfill 3 or more of the criteria, the extent of hepatic resection may have to be carefully reconsidered. Patients with HCCs featuring IM3 intrahepatic metastasis may not benefit from the aggressive approach described here.

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