Uni-, Bi- or Trifocal Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Western Patients: Recurrence and Survival after Percutaneous Thermal Ablation

Cancers (Basel). 2021 May 30;13(11):2700. doi: 10.3390/cancers13112700.

Abstract

Multifocality is usually reported as a pejorative factor after percutaneous thermal ablation (PTA) of HCC but little is known in Western series. Recurrence and survival were extracted from a prospective database of all patients who underwent PTA for 3 cm HCC. From January 2015 to April 2020, we analyzed 281 patients with unifocal (n = 216), bifocal (n = 46) and trifocal (n = 16) HCC. PTA of bi- and trifocal HCC resulted in a high risk of very early (<6 months) distant recurrence (38.8% and 50%, respectively). Median RFS was 23.3 months (95% CI:18.6-30.4), 7.7 months (95% CI:5.1-11.43, p = 0.002) and 5.2 months (95% CI:3-12.3, p = 0.015), respectively, for uni-, bi- and trifocal HCC groups. In a multivariate analysis, both bifocal (HR = 2.46, p < 0.001) and trifocal (HR = 2.70, p = 0.021) vs. unifocal HCC independently predicted shorter RFS. Median OS in trifocal HCC group was 30.3 months (95 CI:19.3-not reached). Trifocal vs. unifocal HCC independently predicted shorter OS (HR = 3.30, p = 0.008), whereas bifocal vs. unifocal HCC did not (p = 0.27). Naïve patient (HR = 0.42, p = 0.007), AFP > 100 ng/mL (HR = 3.03, p = 0.008), MELD > 9 (HR = 2.84, p = 0.001) and steatotic HCC (HR = 0.12, p = 0.038) were also independent predictors of OS. In conclusion, multifocal HCCs in a Western population have a dramatically increased risk of distant recurrence. OS after PTA of trifocal HCC is significantly below what was expected after a curative treatment.

Keywords: liver cancer; metastasis; microwave ablation; prognosis; radiofrequency ablation.