Comparison of conservative treatment versus transcatheter arterial embolisation for the treatment of spontaneously ruptured hepatocellular carcinoma

Pol J Radiol. 2018 Jun 22;83:e311-e318. doi: 10.5114/pjr.2018.77024. eCollection 2018.


Purpose: To elucidate the prognostic factors in the spontaneous rupture of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to determine whether transcatheter arterial embolisation (TAE) is associated with better prognosis compared to conservative treatment.

Material and methods: A retrospective multicentre study was conducted involving 71 patients with spontaneous rupture of HCC. A conservative treatment group (Cons T group) included 20 patients, while a transcatheter arterial embolisation group (TAE group) included 51 patients.

Results: The median survival time (MST) in the Cons T group was only 16 days and the survival rate was 39% at one month, whereas the MST in the TAE group was 28 days and the one month survival rate was 63%. However, there is no statistically significant difference in the overall survival between Cons T and TAE groups (p = 0.213). Multivariable analysis identified only the presence of distant metastasis as an independent prognostic factor (p = 0.023). A subanalysis including patients without distant metastasis showed that the presence of portal vein tumour thrombosis was a significant prognostic factor (p = 0.015).

Conclusions: Distant metastasis appears to be a prognostic factor in spontaneous rupture of HCC. In cases without distant metastasis, portal vein tumour thrombosis could influence the prognosis. Our data failed to prove any benefit of TAE as the primary management.

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma; prognosis; rupture; transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE).