The five-year survival rate of patients after curative resection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been reported to be 30 to 50 %, however the actual survival rate may be different. We analyzed the actual 5-year survival rate and prognostic factors after curative resection of HCC. Retrospective analysis was performed on 63 HCC patients who underwent curative resection from 1998 to 1999. A total of 63 cases were reviewed, consisting of 53 men and 10 women, with a median age of 49 years. These cases included all four pathologic T stages (pT stage) and had the following representation: stage 1 (1 case), stage 2 (17 cases), stage 3 (38 cases), and stage 4 (7 cases). In our study, the actual 5-year survival rate was 57.0% and the median survival time was 60 months. In addition, the patients in our study had an actual 5-year disease-free survival rate of 50.2% and a median disease-free survival time of 46 months. Thirty-one patients had recurrences, with a majority occurring within one year (65%). These patients with early recurrences had a poor actual 5-year survival rate of 5%. A univariate analysis showed that the prognostic factors influencing survival rate were the presence of satellite nodules, increased pT stage, HCC recurrence, and the time to recurrence (within one year). Interestingly, microvascular invasion made a difference in survival rate but was not statistically significant (p = 0.08). Furthermore, factors influencing the disease free survival rate include the presence of satellite nodules, microvascular invasion, and pT stage. Multivariate analysis identified pT stage as the only statistically related factor in determining the disease-free survival rate. The most important prognostic factor of HCC is recurrence. Moreover, the major risk factor for recurrence is an advanced pT stage. Therefore, performing prospective studies of postoperative adjuvant therapy is necessary to prevent recurrences after hepatic resection. Furthermore, active preventative treatment and early diagnosis of recurrences should be of the highest priority in the care of high-risk patient groups that have an advanced pT stage.
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