There have been significant improvements in management of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in recent years.
To assess its impact, investigators from Italy compared the survival of HCC patients identified along 3 consecutive quinquennia of surveillance.
The team followed a cohort of 417 HCC-free outpatients with compensated cirrhosis for an average of 148 months with periodic ultrasound examinations.
|44% of patients underwent radical therapy.|
The team found that HCC developed in 112 patients. This occurred at a rate of 3% per year, and was the main cause of patient death.
The investigators found that 41% of patients had a single tumor, with a mean size of 3.7 cm, 3 cm, and 2.2 cm in the 3 quinquennia.
Overall, 44% of patients underwent radical therapy.
The team found that mortality rates in HCC patients fell from 45% in the first quinquennium to 37% in the second and 10% in the third.
This reduction occurred in parallel with a reduction in yearly mortality of treated patients (34%, 28%, and 5%, respectively).
The team determined that tumor staging, according to Cancer of the Liver Italian Program (CLIP), was the only independent predictor of survival.
Dr Angelo Sangiovanni's team concluded, "Cirrhotic patients developing a HCC during the last 5 years of surveillance survived longer than previously."
This is due to, "Improved management of the tumor and complications of cirrhosis".