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Effectiveness of Anatomical Resection for Small Hepatocellular Carcinoma: a Propensity Score–Matched Analysis of a Multi-institutional Database

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Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery



The superiority of outcomes associated with anatomical resection (AR) versus those associated with non-anatomical resection (NAR) remains controversial in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The aim of this study was to evaluate the significance of AR on therapeutic outcomes of patients with small HCCs (≤ 5 cm), using propensity score–matched (PSM) analysis.


A total of 195 patients who had undergone elective hepatic resection for small HCCs (≤ 5 cm) were included in this study. We conducted PSM analysis for baseline characteristics (age, sex, hepatitis virus status, retention rate of indocyanine green at 15 min, and Child-Pugh grade), preoperative serum α-fetoprotein, and tumor characteristics (tumor size, tumor number, portal vein invasion, and surgical margin status) to eliminate potential selection bias. The prognostic significance of AR on the disease-free and overall survival was analyzed in patients selected by PSM analysis.


Applying PSM analysis, the patients were divided into PSM-AR (N = 66) and PSM-NAR (N = 66) groups. Disease-free survival was significantly better in the PSM-AR group than that of the PSM-NAR group (P = 0.018), while there was no significant difference in the overall survival between the PSM-AR and PSM-NAR groups (P = 0.292). The univariate HRs of the PSM-AR group were 0.55 (95% CI, 0.33–0.90) for disease-free survival and 0.61 (95% CI, 0.24–1.53) for overall survival, respectively. Remnant liver recurrence was significantly lower in the AR group (P = 0.014).


AR may improve the disease-free survival in HCC patients with tumors of ≤5 cm diameter.

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Correspondence to Koichiro Haruki.

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Haruki, K., Furukawa, K., Fujiwara, Y. et al. Effectiveness of Anatomical Resection for Small Hepatocellular Carcinoma: a Propensity Score–Matched Analysis of a Multi-institutional Database. J Gastrointest Surg 25, 2835–2841 (2021).

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