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Meta‐analysis of determinants of survival following treatment of recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma. BJS 2017; 104: 1433-1442.

Published: 19th June 2017

Authors: S. Erridge, P. H. Pucher, S. R. Markar, G. Malietzis, T. Athanasiou, A. Darzi et al.


Intrahepatic recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) following resection is common. However, no current consensus guidelines exist to inform management decisions in these patients. Systematic review and meta‐analysis of survival following different treatment modalities may allow improved treatment selection. This review aimed to identify the optimum treatment strategies for HCC recurrence.


A systematic review, up to September 2016, was conducted in accordance with MOOSE guidelines. The primary outcome was the hazard ratio for overall survival of different treatment modalities. Meta‐analysis of different treatment modalities was carried out using a random‐effects model, with further assessment of additional prognostic factors for survival.


Nineteen cohort studies (2764 patients) were included in final data analysis. The median 5‐year survival rates after repeat hepatectomy (525 patients), ablation (658) and transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) (855) were 35·2, 48·3 and 15·5 per cent respectively. Pooled analysis of ten studies demonstrated no significant difference between overall survival after ablation versus repeat hepatectomy (hazard ratio 1·03, 95 per cent c.i. 0·68 to 1·55; P = 0·897). Pooled analysis of seven studies comparing TACE with repeat hepatectomy showed no statistically significant difference in survival (hazard ratio 1·61, 0·99 to 2·63; P = 0·056).


Based on these limited data, there does not appear to be a significant difference in survival between patients undergoing repeat hepatectomy or ablation for recurrent HCC. The results also identify important negative prognostic factors (short disease‐free interval, multiple hepatic metastases and large hepatic metastases), which may influence choice of treatment.

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