Implication of microscopic and macroscopic vascular invasion for liver resection in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

Dig Surg. 2014;31(3):204-9. doi: 10.1159/000365257. Epub 2014 Sep 2.


Background and aim: Long-term data after liver resection for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with vascular invasion are rare for non-Asian patients. The aim of the present study was to analyze the long-term outcome of liver resection for HCC with vascular invasion and to compare the results of subgroups with micro- and macrovascular invasion.

Methods: From January 2000 to September 2010, 288 patients without extrahepatic metastases underwent liver resection for HCC. In 107 out of 288 patients (37%), vascular invasion was found in the final pathological analysis. The long-term outcome as well as the perioperative course of these patients was analyzed using a prospective database.

Results: The 1-, 3- and 5-year cumulative survival rate of HCC patients with vascular invasion was 64.3, 41.4 and 23.9%, respectively. The median survival was 19 months. In the multivariate analysis, the overall survival was not influenced by the type of vascular invasion (micro- vs. macrovascular invasion), however overall survival was significantly impaired in case of lymphatic vessel invasion, intraoperative blood transfusions, need of fresh frozen plasma application, prolonged ICU stay and elevated preoperative bilirubin levels.

Conclusions: Acceptable survival rates can be achieved in selected patients with macrovascular invasion after surgical resection, which is not markedly different from those with microvascular invasion. In view of an otherwise poor prognosis, liver resection seems to be justified for selected HCC patients with macrovascular invasion, although this stands in contrast with the BCLC recommendations. However, it is in accordance for example with the guidelines of the Asia-Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Germany
  • Hepatectomy / adverse effects
  • Hepatectomy / methods
  • Hepatectomy / mortality
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Liver Cirrhosis / mortality
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / surgery
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Neoplasms / etiology
  • Vascular Neoplasms / mortality
  • Vascular Neoplasms / pathology*