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Selection Criteria for Hepatectomy in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Portal Vein Tumor Thrombus

Minagawa, Masami MD*; Makuuchi, Masatoshi MD*; Takayama, Tadatoshi MD*; Ohtomo, Kuni MD

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Objective To examine the usefulness of the authors’ method involving preoperative transcatheter arterial chemoembolization followed by hepatectomy.

Summary Background Data The presence of portal vein tumor thrombus in a patient with hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the most significant factors for a poor prognosis. No standard therapy has been established.

Methods Forty-five of 455 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (10%) from 1989 to 1998 were included in this study. These patients had gross portal vein tumor thrombus but no distant metastases. The 23 patients (50%) who had indications for surgery received preoperative transcatheter arterial chemoembolization: 18 underwent hepatic resection and 5 underwent ligation of the hepatic artery or portal vein on laparotomy. Among the remaining 22 patients who did not have indications for hepatectomy, 10 received regional chemotherapy and 12 underwent transcatheter arterial chemoembolization.

Results The mean duration of survival was 3.4 ± 2.7 years in the 18 patients who received transcatheter arterial chemoembolization and hepatectomy and 0.36 ± 0.26 years in the 27 patients who did not receive hepatectomy. The survival rate of the 18 patients who received hepatic resection with preoperative transcatheter arterial chemoembolization was 82% at 1 year, 42% at 3 years, and 42% at 5 years. Portal trunk occlusion by tumor thrombus, three or more primary nodules, an indocyanine green retention rate at 15 minutes of 20% or worse, and therapeutic choice other than hepatectomy were significant predictors of a poor prognosis on univariate analysis. Hepatectomy was the only factor that was significant on multivariate analysis.

Conclusions Patients may enjoy long-term survival if they receive hepatectomy with preoperative transcatheter arterial chemoembolization, when the number of primary nodules is no more than two, the portal trunk is not occluded by tumor thrombus, and the indocyanine green retention rate at 15 minutes is better than 20%.

From the *Department of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, Department of Artificial Organ and Transplantation, and the †Department of Radiology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Correspondence: Masatoshi Makuuchi, MD, Department of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, Department of Artificial Organ and Transplantation, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8655, Japan.

E-mail: makuuchi-tky@umin.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Accepted for publication July 12, 2000.

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.