New idea for treatment strategies for Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stages based on a network meta-analysis

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Currently, the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer staging (BCLC) system still remains controversies in the management of hepatocellular carcinoma. We are trying to determine the best therapeutic strategy for each BCLC stage through a network meta-analysis and provide a new treatment idea.


We conducted a systematic literature search of the PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases and extracted data from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared various strategies. Network meta-analyses were conducted in ADDIS by evaluating different overall survival of each stage. Cumulative probability was used to rank the included strategies. A node-splitting model assessed whether direct and indirect evidence on a specific node was in agreement.


Of the 24 included RCTs, 3667 patients were included. Based on the probability P values, the results showed that TACE plus surgical resection (SR) was the first choice for BCLC Stage A (P = .38 and P = .52 for 3- and 5-year OS, respectively). The application of SR was the best strategy for BCLC Stage B (P = .51 and P = .95 for 1- and 3-year OS, respectively). For Stage C, whole net connections could not be established in this research, but combined therapy seemed to produce better results based on 3 separated net connections (P = .92, P = .80, and P = .69 for 1-year OS).


The updated therapy strategies discussed in this study are recommended. More importantly, we deemed that the recommended strategy for each patient may be subject to adjustment due to individual clinical factors. The applicable scope of each strategy should also be evaluated before application.

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