Extent of liver resection influences the outcome in patients with cirrhosis and small hepatocellular carcinoma

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Background.The long-term outcome after resection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is influenced by parameters related to the tumor and the underlying liver disease. However, the extent of the resection, which can be limited or anatomical (including the tumor and its portal territory), is controversial.Methods.Among 64 Child-Pugh A patients with cirrhosis who underwent curative liver resection for small HCC (≤ 4 cm) between 1990 and 1996, 34 patients underwent limited resection with a margin width of at least 1 cm, and 30 patients underwent anatomic resection of at least 1 liver segment with complete removal of the portal area containing the tumor. The 2 groups were comparable in terms of epidemiologic and pathologic parameters. The major end points were: (1) in-hospital mortality and morbidity; (2) overall and disease-free survival; and (3) rate and topography of recurrence.Results.The 30-day mortality (6% vs 7%) and morbidity (52% vs 47%) rates after limited and anatomic liver resection were not statistically different. The 5- and 8-year overall survival rates after limited versus anatomic resection were, respectively, 35% versus 54% (P < .05) and 6% versus 45% (P < .05). The 5- and 8-year disease-free survival rates were, respectively, 26% versus 45% and 0% versus 21% (P < .05). Local recurrence was more frequently observed after limited resections than after anatomic resections (50% vs 10%, P < .05).Conclusions.In patients with cirrhosis and a small HCC, anatomic resection achieves better disease-free survival than limited resection without increasing the postoperative risk. Therefore, anatomical resection should be the treatment of choice and considered as the reference surgical treatment compared with other treatments. (Surgery 2002;131:311-7.)

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