AIM: To determine the risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) rupture, and report the management and long-term survival results of patients with spontaneous rupture of HCC.
METHODS: Among 4209 patients with HCC who were diagnosed at Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital from April 2002 to November 2006, 200 (4.8%) patients with ruptured HCC (case group) were studied retrospectively in term of their clinical characteristics and prognostic factors. The one-stage therapeutic approach to manage ruptured HCC consisted of initial management by conservative treatment, transarterial embolization (TACE) or hepatic resection. Results of various treatments in the case group were evaluated and compared with the control group (202 patients) without ruptured HCC during the same study period. Continuous data were expressed as mean ± SD or median (range) where appropriate and compared using the unpaired t test. Categorical variables were compared using the Chi-square test with Yates correction or the Fisher exact test where appropriate. The overall survival rate in each group was determined using the Kaplan-Meier method and a log-rank test.
RESULTS: Compared with the control group, more patients in the case group had underlying diseases of hypertension (7.5% vs 3.0%, P =0.041) and liver cirrhosis (87.5% vs 56.4%, P < 0.001), tumor size >5 cm (83.0% vs 57.4%, P < 0.001), tumor protrusion from the liver surface (66.0% vs 44.6%, P < 0.001), vascular thrombus (30.5% vs 8.9%, P < 0.001) and extrahepatic invasion (36.5% vs 12.4%, P < 0.001). On multivariate logistic regression analysis, underlying diseases of hypertension (P = 0.002) and liver cirrhosis (P < 0.001), tumor size > 5 cm (P < 0.001), vascular thrombus (P = 0.002) and extrahepatic invasion (P < 0.001) were predictive for spontaneous rupture of HCC. Among the 200 patients with spontaneous rupture of HCC, 105 patients underwent hepatic resection, 33 received TACE, and 62 were managed with conservative treatment. The median survival time (MST) of all patients with spontaneous rupture of HCC was 6 mo (range, 1-72 mo), and the overall survival at 1, 3 and 5 years were 32.5%, 10% and 4%, respectively. The MST was 12 mo (range, 1-72 mo) in the surgical group, 4 mo (range, 1-30 mo) in the TACE group and 1 mo (range, 1-19 mo) in the conservative group. Ninety-eight patients in the control group underwent hepatic resection, and the MST and median disease-free survival time were 46 mo (range, 6-93 mo) and 23 mo (range, 3-39 mo) respectively, which were much longer than that of patients with spontaneous rupture of HCC undergoing hepatic resection (P < 0.001). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival rates and the 1-, 3- and 5-year disease-free survival rates in patients with ruptured HCC undergoing hepatectomy were 57.1%, 19.0% and 7.6%, 27.6%, 14.3% and 3.8%, respectively, compared with those of 77.1%, 59.8% and 41.2%, 57.1%, 40.6% and 32.9% in 98 patients without ruptured HCC undergoing hepatectomy (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Prolonged survival can be achieved in selected patients undergoing one-stage hepatectomy, although the survival results were inferior to those of the patients without ruptured HCC.