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Abstract

Hepatic resection (HR) is the treatment of choice for small hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in a noncirrhotic liver, whereas liver transplantation (LT) offers better results in patients with impaired hepatic function (Child B and C). However, it is still debated whether HR or LT is the best strategy for patients with Child A cirrhosis. We conducted a retrospective study on 37 consecutive patients with Child A cirrhosis and small HCC, treated between 1991 and 1999. Seventeen of these patients, who underwent LT, were compared with 20 patients who underwent HR, and prognostic factors for survival and tumor recurrence were analyzed. The primary endpoints were the intention-to-treat, 3- and 5-year survival, and 3- and 5-year recurrence-free survival. Three- and 5-year patient survival rate both were significantly (P = .04) higher in the LT group (87% and 71%, respectively) than in the HR group (67 and 36% respectively). Similarly, the 3- and 5- year recurrence-free survival rates were 87% and 80% for the LT group, and 52% and 40% for the HR group (P = .03). Absence of microscopic vascular invasion was the only other prognostic factor correlated with significantly better recurrence-free survival (P = .02). Therefore, we concluded that in patients with Child A cirrhosis and small HCC, liver transplantation resulted in better overall and disease-free survival than HR.