Is Postoperative Adjuvant Transcatheter Arterial Infusion Therapy Effective for Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma who Underwent Hepatectomy? A Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial



The effectiveness of adjuvant transcatheter arterial chemo- or/and chemoembolization therapy after curative hepatectomy of initial hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is controversial. This study aimed to evaluate whether hepatectomy combined with adjuvant transcatheter arterial infusion therapy (TAI) for initial HCC has better long-term survival outcomes than hepatectomy alone.


From January 2012 to December 2014, a prospective randomized controlled trial of patients with initial HCC was conducted. Then, 114 initial HCC patients were recruited to undergo hepatectomy with adjuvant TAI (TAI group, n = 55) or hepatectomy alone (control group, n = 59) at our institution. The TAI therapy was performed twice, at 3 and 6 months after curative hepatectomy (UMIN 000011900).


The patients treated with TAI had no serious side effects, and operative outcomes did not differ between the two groups. No significant differences were found in the pattern of intrahepatic recurrence or time until recurrence between the two groups. Moreover, no significant differences were found in the relapse-free survival or overall survival. Low cholinesterase level (< 200) had been identified as a risk factor affecting relapse-free survival. Furthermore, compared with surgery alone, adjuvant TAI with hepatectomy improved the overall survival for lower-cholinesterase patients.


Adjuvant TAI is safe and feasible, but it cannot reduce the incidence of postoperative recurrence or prolong survival for patients who underwent curative hepatectomy for initial HCC.

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We thank Editage ( for English language editing.

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Correspondence to Fumitoshi Hirokawa MD, PhD.

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Hirokawa, F., Komeda, K., Taniguchi, K. et al. Is Postoperative Adjuvant Transcatheter Arterial Infusion Therapy Effective for Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma who Underwent Hepatectomy? A Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial. Ann Surg Oncol 27, 4143–4152 (2020).

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