Background: The optimal therapeutic strategy in UICC stage T3 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients that maximizes both safety and long-term outcome has not yet been determined. Our aim was to compare clinical outcomes following hepatic resection (HR) versus transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) for stage T3 HCC.
Methods: From 2005 to 2013, 1179 patients with T3 HCC who underwent HR or TACE were divided into two groups, HR group (n = 280) or TACE group (n = 899). The clinical outcomes were compared before and after propensity score matching.
Results: The propensity model matched 244 patients in each group for further analyses. After matching, medium overall survival (OS), 1, 3, and 5-year OS rates in TACE group were 11.8 (95%CI, 9.9-13.7) months, 49.6, 16.5, and 8.4%, respectively; which in HR group were 17.8 (95% CI, 14.8-20.8) months, 63.1, 33.3, and 26.4%, respectively; (log rank = 19.908, P < 0.01). Patients in HR group were more likely to develop pleural effusion, compared with those in TACE group (0.4% vs. 5.3%, P = 0.01). However, no significant differences in other adverse events (AEs) were found between two groups. Similar results were also demonstrated prior to the matched analysis. Multivariate analysis indicated that prothrombin time (PT), tumor size, tumor numbers, UICC staging status, and initial treatment were independent prognostic factors.
Conclusions: Our study revealed that TACE was an option for UICC T3 HCC patients. However, HR seemed to be safe and yield a survival benefit compared with TACE, especially for patients with a good underlying liver function.
Keywords: Hepatic resection; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Propensity score matching study; TACE.