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. 2000;35(8):613-21.
doi: 10.1007/s005350070061.

Evolution of and Obstacles in Surgical Treatment for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Over the Last 25 Years: Differences Over Four Treatment Eras

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Evolution of and Obstacles in Surgical Treatment for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Over the Last 25 Years: Differences Over Four Treatment Eras

N Yamanaka et al. J Gastroenterol. .

Abstract

This study was designed to clarify what differences the last 25 years have made in surgical results for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We examined results for 716 hepatectomized patients in four treatment eras: first era (1973-1980; n = 58), second era (1981-1985; n = 155), third era (1986-1990; n = 243), and fourth era (1991-1997; n = 260). Patient background, tumor characteristics, type of hepatectomy, treatment for intrahepatic recurrences, and surgical results in the four eras were compared by univariate analysis to clarify the factors that have contributed to or impeded progress in the surgical treatment of HCC. Although there were no significant chronological differences in liver pathology and surgical resectability, operative mortality was reduced to 2% in the fourth era, from 29% in the first era. With an increasing proportion of early-stage HCCs (TNM, stages I and II), the cumulative survival rate at 5 years improved in the course of the eras in our overall population of patients (12%, 31%, 38%, and 51%, respectively, for the first, second, third, and fourth eras) and in a subset of the population divided according to tumor stage. Also, we found a chronological improvement in the survival rate at 3 years after intrahepatic recurrence (10%, 28%, 36%, and 44%, respectively in the first second, third, and fourth eras). This improvement was associated with the establishment of an early detection program for intrahepatic recurrences. However, the recurrence rate was similar in any subset of the population through the four eras. Although this univariate study could not determine independent factors that contributed to the chronological progress in results for HCC surgery in the four eras, it is conceivable that the establishment of indication criteria for hepatectomy, an early detection program for primary and recurrent lesions, and the introduction of multimodal treatment for recurrence were contributory factors in this improvement. A strategy for alleviating the frequent recurrences originating from posthepatectomy metachronous carcinogenesis remains to be established.

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