Background: The Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer staging system recommends radiofrequency ablation as treatment of choice for patients with "small" (up to 2 cm in size) hepatocellular carcinoma. Aims: Aim of the study was to assess whether laparoscopic ablation therapies or hepatic resection could be proposed as alternative option if percutaneous approach is not feasible. Methods: Overall survival and tumour recurrence rate were compared in a retrospective cohort of 176 consecutive patients with small hepatocellular carcinoma on cirrhosis treated by laparoscopic ablation therapies or surgery. To balance the covariates between the two groups, a propensity case-matched analysis was developed to generate a matched sample, which included 76 patients in each arm. Results: Local tumour progression (p = 0.005), intra-segmental recurrence (p = 0.0001), and 5-year recurrence rates (80% vs. 60%; p = 0.0014) were significantly higher in the ablation therapies group. The 5-year survival rate were 48% after ablation therapies and 69% after hepatic resection (p = 0.0006). Multivariate analysis showed that MELD score, alpha-fetoprotein value, procedure category and intraoperative restaging were associated with survival, while the surgery was the only independent predictor of intra-hepatic recurrence. Conclusions: The present study suggests that, if percutaneous ablation is not feasible, hepatic resection may be considered as a sound option in the treatment of small hepatocellular carcinoma.
- Hepatic resection
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Laparoscopic ablation therapies
- Liver cirrhosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas