Locoregional therapies for hepatocellular carcinoma: Which patients are most likely to gain a survival advantage?

Suzanne E. Mahady, Barbara Charlton, Patrick Fitzgerald, David J. Koorey, John F. Perry, Richard C. Waugh, Geoffrey W. McCaughan, Simone I. Strasser

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Background and Aim: Locoregional therapies for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are considered to confer a survival advantage, however, the patient group that should be targeted is not clearly defined. This study aimed to determine the impact on survival of locoregional therapies compared with supportive care, within prognostic categories as stratified by the Cancer of the Liver Italian Program (CLIP) scoring system. Methods: A prospective database was used to identify those patients who were treated with either locoregional therapy (n = 128) or supportive care (n = 92). Survival analysis was performed for groups matched by CLIP score at presentation. Comparison of important prognostic factors was undertaken and univariate and multivariate analysis was performed to assess determinants of survival. Results: Use of locoregional therapies was only associated with a survival benefit in patients with a CLIP score of 1 or 2. In this group, the median survival in patients who received locoregional therapies was 25.0 months (95% confidence interval 22.7-27.4) compared with 8.9 months (95% confidence interval 7.3-10.5) for supportive care (P = 0.001). For patients with CLIP scores of 3 or greater, no survival benefit of locoregional therapies was observed. Multivariate analysis revealed locoregional intervention, CLIP score, tumor symptoms, α-fetoprotein level, bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase level as independent prognostic indicators. Conclusion: Locoregional therapies should be targeted specifically to patients with non-advanced hepatocellular carcinoma as assessed by validated scoring systems. Use of these therapies in patients with advanced disease does not appear to be associated with a survival benefit and may expose patients to unnecessary harm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1299-1305
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • chemoembolization
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • survival

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