Prognostic factors and predictors of postoperative adjuvant transcatheter arterial chemoembolization benefit in patients with resected hepatocellular carcinoma

World J Gastroenterol. 2020 Mar 14;26(10):1042-1055. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i10.1042.


Background: Postoperative adjuvant transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (PA-TACE) has improved overall survival (OS) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the prognostic and predictive factors remain unclear.

Aim: To assess the prognostic factors and the predictors of PA-TACE benefit for OS in patients with resected HCC.

Methods: Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify the potential prognostic factors for OS. In order to assess the predictive factors of PA-TACE benefit, the interaction variables between treatments for each subgroup were evaluated using the Cox proportional hazards regression model.

Results: A total of 378 patients (PA-TACE vs surgery alone, 189:189) from three centers were included after a propensity-score 1:1 matching analysis. Compared to the group receiving surgery alone, PA-TACE prolonged the OS rate in patients with resected HCC (P < 0.001). The Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer system and ferritin-to-hemoglobin ratio (FHR) were used as the prognostic factors for OS in both groups. Age (P = 0.023) and microscopic vascular invasion (MVI) (P = 0.002) were also identified in the PA-TACE group, while gender (P = 0.027), hepatitis B virus (P = 0.034) and albumin-bilirubin grade (P = 0.027) were also selected in the surgery alone group. In addition, PA-TACE resulted in longer OS than surgery alone across subgroups [all hazard ratios (PA-TACE-to-surgery alone) < 1]. Notably, a significantly prolonged OS following PA-TACE was observed in patients with high FHR (P = 0.038) and without MVI (P = 0.048).

Conclusion: FHR and Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stages were regarded as prognostic factors for OS. Moreover, high FHR and the absence of MVI were important predictive factors, which can be used to assist clinicians in selecting which patients could achieve a better OS with PA-TACE.

Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma; Overall survival; Postoperative adjuvant transcatheter arterial chemoembolization; Predictive factors; Prognostic factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy*
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic / methods
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic / mortality*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Hepatectomy / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Postoperative Period
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Propensity Score
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hemoglobins
  • Ferritins