Hepatocellular carcinoma surgical and oncological trends in a national multicentric population: the HERCOLES experience

HE.RC.O.LE.S. Group

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Liver surgery is the first line treatment for hepatocarcinoma. Hepatocarcinoma Recurrence on the Liver Study (HERCOLES) Group was established in 2018 with the goal to create a network of Italian centres sharing data and promoting scientific research on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the surgical field. This is the first national report that analyses the trends in surgical and oncological outcomes. Register data were collected by 22 Italian centres between 2008 and 2018. One hundred sixty-four variables were collected, regarding liver functional status, tumour burden, radiological, intraoperative and perioperative data, histological features and oncological follow-up. 2381 Patients were enrolled. Median age was 70 (IQR 63–75) years old. Cirrhosis was present in 1491 patients (62.6%), and Child-A were 89.9% of cases. HCC was staged as BCLC0-A in almost 50% of cases, while BCLC B and C were 20.7% and 17.9% respectively. Major liver resections were 481 (20.2%), and laparoscopy was employed in 753 (31.6%) cases. Severe complications occurred only in 5%. Postoperative ascites was recorded in 10.5% of patients, while posthepatectomy liver failure was observed in 4.9%. Ninety-day mortality was 2.5%. At 5 years, overall survival was 66.1% and disease-free survival was 40.9%. Recurrence was intrahepatic in 74.6% of cases. Redo-surgery and thermoablation for recurrence were performed up to 32% of cases. This is the most updated Italian report of the national experience in surgical treatment for HCC. This dataset is consistently allowing the participating centres in creating multicentric analysis which are already running with a very large sample size and strong power.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUpdates in Surgery
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Hepatocarcinoma recurrence
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver surgery
  • Redo surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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