Prognosis of patients with spontaneous rupture of hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhosis
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The treatment of cirrhotic patients with spontaneous rupture of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is controversial and largely dependent on general conditions of the patients and compensation of the underlying cirrhosis. We retrospectively reviewed clinical, imaging and surgical records of 24 consecutive cirrhotic patients (17 males, 7 females; age range 52–88 years) with hemoperitoneum from spontaneous rupture of HCC observed from June 2004 to January 2010 at our Institution. When indicated, patients were referred to surgery or trans-arterial embolization (TAE). Advanced decompensated patients were conservatively treated and clinically followed up. Spontaneous rupture of HCC was assessed by aspiration of bloody ascites at paracentesis in all cases. The presence of large blood-clots over HCC and liver surface at US and/or CT was considered a specific sign of ruptured HCC in 14 cases. In two out of four patients who underwent TAE active bleeding from tumor surface could be demonstrated. In 2 cases, the active hemorrhage from the HCC surface could be assessed by contrast-enhanced ultrasonography. Four out of 24 patients underwent surgery. Three out of four of these patients died within 2 weeks, 8 months, and 20 months after operation, respectively. The remaining patient is still alive at 52 months follow-up. Four patients underwent TAE and died at 1, 2, 6 and 10 months after treatment, because of recurrent peritoneal bleeding and/or liver failure. Sixteen patients with ruptured HCC in the advanced Child C cirrhosis were treated conservatively with blood derivative transfusion and with procoagulant drugs. All patients, but one died within 2–18 days. One patient survived the acute hemorrhage from ruptured HCC and died of liver failure after 3 months. We concluded that spontaneous rupture of HCC is usually a fatal event in patients with poor liver function, even after successful TAE. In compensated patients, timely surgical treatment can result in long term and even tumor-free survival of the patient.
KeywordsHepatocellular carcinoma Hemoperitoneum Liver resection