Intrahepatic recurrence after resection of hepatocellular carcinoma complicating cirrhosis

Ann Surg. 1991 Aug;214(2):114-7. doi: 10.1097/00000658-199108000-00004.


To determine whether a careful evaluation of tumor extension by preoperative computed tomography scan after intra-arterial injection of ultrafluid lipiodol and by intraoperative ultrasound examination reduced the recurrence rate of hepatocellular carcinoma after resection, a series of 47 cirrhotic patients with a single tumor operated on from 1984 was studied. Alphafetoprotein level was less than 100 ng/mL in 26 patients (55%), size of the tumor was less than 5 cm in 28 patients (59%), and capsule was present in 30 patients (63%). The resection was performed with free margin measuring 1 cm or more. The overall cumulative survival rates at 3 and 5 years were 35% and 17%, respectively. Intrahepatic recurrence was observed in 28 patients (60%), located less than 2 cm from the resection margin in only four patients. The cumulative intrahepatic recurrence rate at 3 years was 81% and was significantly higher in patients with tumor greater than or equal to 5 cm and in patients with preoperative alphafetoprotein level of greater than or equal to 100 ng/mL. In this series the cumulative intrahepatic recurrence rate at 5 years was 100%. This high recurrence rate after resection, even with careful evaluation of tumor extension, indicates that liver transplantation might be envisaged for the treatment of cirrhotic patients with resectable hepatocellular carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local*
  • Survival Rate
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • alpha-Fetoproteins / metabolism


  • alpha-Fetoproteins