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Partial hepatectomy for ruptured hepatocellular carcinoma. BJS 2013; 100: 1071-1079.

Published: 10th June 2013

Authors: T. Yang, Y. F. Sun, J. Zhang, W. Y. Lau, E. C. H. Lai, J. H. Lu et al.


Improvements in surgical technique and perioperative care have made partial hepatectomy a safe and effective treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), even in the event of spontaneous HCC rupture.


A consecutive cohort of patients who underwent partial hepatectomy for HCC between 2000 and 2009 was divided into a ruptured group and a non‐ruptured group. Patients with ruptured HCC were further divided into emergency and staged hepatectomy subgroups. Mortality and morbidity, overall survival and recurrence‐free survival (RFS) were compared. Prognostic factors for overall survival and RFS were identified by univariable and multivariable analyses.


A total of 1233 patients underwent partial hepatectomy for HCC, of whom 143 had a ruptured tumour. The morbidity and mortality rates were similar in the ruptured and non‐ruptured groups, as well as in the emergency and staged subgroups. In univariable analyses, overall survival and RFS were lower in the ruptured group than in the non‐ruptured group (both P < 0·001), and also in the emergency subgroup compared with the staged subgroup (P = 0·016 and P = 0·025 respectively). In multivariable analysis, spontaneous rupture independently predicted poor overall survival after hepatectomy (hazard ratio 1·54, 95 per cent confidence interval 1·24 to 1·93) and RFS (HR 1·75, 1·39 to 2·22). Overall survival and RFS after hepatectomy for ruptured HCC in the emergency and staged subgroups were not significantly different in multivariable analyses.


Spontaneous rupture predicted poor long‐term survival after hepatectomy for HCC, but surgical treatment seems possible, safe and appropriate in selected patients.

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