Published online Jan 7, 2015. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i1.246
Peer-review started: March 21, 2014
First decision: May 13, 2014
Revised: June 7, 2014
Accepted: July 11, 2014
Article in press: July 11, 2014
Published online: January 7, 2015
AIM: To analyze hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients with portal vein tumor thrombosis (PVTT) using the tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) staging system.
METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed 372 patients with HCC who underwent hepatectomy between 1980 and 2009. We studied the outcomes of HCC patients with PVTT to evaluate the American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM staging system (7th edition) for stratifying and predicting the prognosis of a large cohort of HCC patients after hepatectomy in a single-center. Portal vein invasion (vp) 1 was defined as an invasion or tumor thrombus distal to the second branch of the portal vein, vp2 as an invasion or tumor thrombus in the second branch of the portal vein, vp3 as an invasion or tumor thrombus in the first branch of the portal vein, and vp4 as an invasion or tumor thrombus in the portal trunk or extending to a branch on the contralateral side.
RESULTS: The cumulative 5-year overall survival (5yrOS) and 5-year disease-free survival (5yrDFS) rates of the 372 patients were 58.3% and 31.3%, respectively. The 5yrDFS and 5yrOS of vp3-4 patients (n = 10) were 20.0%, and 30.0%, respectively, which was comparable with the corresponding survival rates of vp1-2 patients (P = 0.466 and 0.586, respectively). In the subgroup analysis of patients with macroscopic PVTT (vp2-4), the OS of the patients who underwent preoperative transarterial chemoembolization was comparable to that of patients who did not (P = 0.747). There was a significant difference in the DFS between patients with stage I HCC and those with stage II HCC (5yrDFS 39.2% vs 23.1%, P < 0.001); however, the DFS for stage II was similar to that for stage III (5yrDFS 23.1% vs 13.8%, P = 0.330). In the subgroup analysis of stage II-III HCC (n = 148), only alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) > 100 mg/dL was independently associated with DFS.
CONCLUSION: Hepatectomy for vp3-4 HCC results in a survival rate similar to hepatectomy for vp1-2. AFP stratified the stage II-III HCC patients according to prognosis.
Core tip: Hepatectomy for selected patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with portal vein invasion (vp) 3 or vp4 may result in a survival rate that is similar to that for hepatectomy in vp1 or vp2 patients. Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) can stratify the stage II-III patients according to prognosis. If serum AFP is elevated in patients with stage II-III HCC, clinical trials involving neoadjuvant/adjuvant therapy should be considered.