Major vascular invasion by hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a poor prognostic factor. The outcome of hepatic resection for this advanced stage tumor remains unclear.
To clarify the outcome of hepatic resection for HCC with vascular invasion.
Between January 2005 and May 2013, 13 of 272 patients who underwent hepatic resection of HCC had a confirmed major portal or hepatic vein tumor thrombosis. The perioperative and long-term outcomes of this cohort of patients were retrospectively reviewed.
Ten of the 13 patients underwent preoperative transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). None showed tumor progression or liver function deterioration. All underwent hepatic resection with complete removal of tumor thrombus. The vascular resection margin was microscopically negative in all patients. Postoperative complications occurred in 62%. Most complications were pleural effusion, which necessitates percutaneous drainage. No perioperative mortality occurred. The median follow up time was 38.5 months (range 10–112). The median overall survival was 38.5 months. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year recurrence free survival was 93%, 36%, and 36%, respectively. The 1-, 3-, and 5 year-overall survival was 93%, 76%, and 48%, respectively. Nine patients had intrahepatic tumor recurrence, extrahepatic recurrence, or both. Five with recurrence underwent TACE, radiofrequency ablation, or surgical resection. On univariate analysis, the only factor that tended to relate to worse overall survival was underlying liver cirrhosis (P = 0.056).
Hepatic resection for HCC with invasive thrombosis, combined with careful patient selection, close postoperative follow up, and early treatment of recurrence offers a chance of long-term survival.