Purpose: The efficacy of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in reducing the risk of various de novo cancers has been reported; however, its role in reducing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence after liver resection still remains unknown.
Methods: We have conducted a nationwide cohort study by recruiting all patients with a newly diagnosed HCC who had received curative liver resection as their initial treatment. The use of NSAIDs and the risk of early HCC recurrence have been examined by multivariate and stratified analyses. To avoid immortal time bias, the use of NSAIDs has been treated as a time-dependent variable in Cox proportional hazard ratio models.
Results: Between January 1997 and December 2010, a total of 15,574 HCC patients who had received liver resection were enrolled in this study. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival rates were 90.4%, 73.2%, and 59.8%, respectively. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year disease-free survival rates were 80.5%, 59.4%, and 50.2%, respectively. NSAID use (hazard ratio, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.73–0.90) and minor liver resection (hazard ratio, 0.83; 95% confidence interval, 0.78–0.89) were independently associated with a reduced risk of early HCC recurrence after liver resection. In the stratified analyses, NSAID usage was universally associated with reduced risks in most subgroups, particularly for those aged younger than 65 years, male, with underlying diabetes mellitus and receiving major liver resection.
Conclusions: The use of NSAIDs can be associated with a reduced risk of early HCC recurrence within 2 years after curative liver resection, regardless of patients' age, extent of liver resection, viral hepatitis status, underlying diabetes, and liver cirrhosis.