The Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer advanced stage (BCLC C) of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) includes a heterogeneous population, where sorafenib alone is the recommended treatment. In this study our aim was to assess treatment and overall survival (OS) of BCLC C patients sub-classified according to clinical features (Performance Status [PS], macro-vascular invasion [MVI], extra-hepatic spread [EHS] or MVI+EHS) determining their allocation to this stage. From the Italian Liver Cancer database, we analysed 835 consecutive BCLC C patients diagnosed between 2008 and 2014. Patients were sub-classified as: PS1 alone (n=385, 46.1%), PS2 alone (n=146, 17.5%), MVI (n=224, 26.8%), EHS (n=51, 6.1%) and MVI+EHS (n=29, 3.5%). MVI, EHS and MVI+EHS patients had larger and multifocal/massive HCCs and higher alpha-fetoprotein levels than PS1 and PS2 patients. Median OS significantly declined from PS1 (38.6 months) to PS2 (22.3 months), EHS (11.2 months), MVI (8.2 months) and MVI+EHS (3.1 months) (P<0.001). Among MVI patients, OS was longer in those with peripheral than with central (portal trunk) MVI (11.2 vs 7.1 months, P=0.005). The most frequent treatments were: curative approaches in PS1 (39.7%), supportive therapy in PS2 (41.8%), sorafenib in MVI (39.3%) and EHS (37.3%), and best supportive care in MVI+EHS patients (51.7%). Independent prognostic factors were: Model for End-stage Liver Disease score, Child-Pugh class, ascites, platelet count, albumin, tumour size, MVI, EHS, alpha-fetoprotein levels and treatment type.
CONCLUSION: BCLC C stage does not identify patients homogeneous enough to be allocated to a single stage. PS1 alone is not sufficient to include a patient into this stage. The remaining patients should be sub-classified according to PS and tumour features, and new patient-tailored therapeutic indications are needed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
- Journal Article