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Keywords:

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma;
  • portal vein embolization;
  • liver resection;
  • anatomical liver resection;
  • anterior approach;
  • liver transplantation

Abstract

Surgery for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) includes partial liver resection (LR) and liver transplantation (LT). Although LT represents the most efficient treatment in patients with small HCC, <30% of patients are eligible for LT because of restrictive criteria (one nodule <5 cm or two to three nodules <3 cm without macroscopic vascular invasion), graft unavailability and the high cost of the procedure. For large HCC, LR remains the only potential curative treatment. LR is now safer, with a low rate of mortality. Selective preoperative morphological assessment, preoperative use of portal vein embolization for increasing future remnant liver volume and the improvement of surgical techniques such as the use of intermittent clamping and anterior approach are factors that improve the safety and tolerance of LR. In patients with small HCCs and a preserved liver function (Child-Pugh grade A), good long-term survival can be achieved after anatomical resection that removes the tumor(s) and its portal vein territory. These good results of LR for small HCC and the increasing duration of the waiting list for candidates of LT have renewed the place of LR as a bridge treatment before LT.