• BCLC B stage;
  • hepatocellular carcinoma;
  • survival;
  • transarterial chemoembolization


Background & Aims

Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is recommended as standard care for intermediate hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We analyse the rationality and effectiveness of TACE with BCLC B stage HBV-related HCC in a large cohort.


A total of 1516 patients with BCLC B stage from 7724 HBV-related HCCs who received TACE as initial treatment were retrospectively studied. The treatment response was assessed by the mRECIST criteria. The overall survival was calculated with life-table method and compared with the Mantel-Cox test. The prognostic factors were assessed using Cox proportional hazards.


The 1-, 3- and 5-year overall survival rates were 84%, 29% and 19% respectively for all patients. Alpha-foetoprotein, Child-Pugh classification, tumour size and number were independent prognostic factors. The 5-year survival for patients with CR, PR, SD and PD were 39%, 19%, 2% and 0%, respectively (< 0.0001). Child-Pugh A liver function (= 0.002) and smaller tumour (< 0.0001) were associated with CR/PR response. After TACE, the 5-year survival rates for patients who received surgical resection, local ablation, repeated TACE and other therapies were 52%, 29%, 12%, 10% respectively (< 0.0001). In 328 CR patients, the prognosis of 151 patients received surgical resection is better than 177 patients not undergo liver resection (5-year survival: 52% & 27%, < 0.0001).


Transarterial chemoembolization is a safe and efficacious treatment for BCLC B stage HBV-related HCC. A low AFP level, small tumour, low tumour number and good liver function predicted good survival. Tumour response after initial TACE, an independent prognostic factor of overall survival, was associated with tumour extent and influenced subsequent treatment.