, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 397-403

Characteristics of recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma in Japan and our surgical experience

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A nationwide survey conducted by the Liver Cancer Study Group of Japan showed that approximately 85%–90% of recurrences of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were in the remnant liver, and that the location of the intrahepatic recurrence was widely distributed throughout the entire liver, with 30%–40% of the recurrences on the side opposite the primary tumor, beyond Cantlie's line. In our experience, about 70% of the recurrences were seen within 2 years after surgery, and the survival rate tended to be lower as the period from the primary surgery to the recurrence was shorter. To achieve longer survival in patients with HCC, one of the most important issues is, therefore, how to prevent and control intrahepatic recurrence after surgery. Although, according to the nationwide survey, repeat hepatectomy has been performed in only 1.6% of all patients with intrahepatic recurrence, we have experienced 28 patients with repeat hepatic resection. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates from the time of re-resection were 93%, 59%, and 47%, respectively, and survival rates from the time of the initial surgery were 85% at 3 years, 62% at 5 years, and 53% at 8 years. In particular, in patients with a second primary cancer from multicentric carcinogenesis, the 5-year survival rate after the re-resection was approximately 80%. These results suggested that repeat hepatectomy should be recommended for selected patients.

Received: February 14, 2001 / Accepted: March 24, 2001