Laparoscopic ablation therapies or hepatic resection in cirrhotic patients with small hepatocellular carcinoma

Roberto Santambrogio, Michael D. Kluger, Mara Costa, Juan Salceda, Andrea Belli, Alexis Laurent, Matteo Barabino, E. Opocher, D. Azoulay, Daniel Cherqui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Hepatic resection
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Laparoscopic ablation therapies
  • Liver cirrhosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Hepatology


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