BACKGROUND: We aimed to identify the main determinants of long-term overall survival (OS), including virologic control, and recurrence after radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) on cirrhosis.
METHODS: Cirrhotic patients treated by RFA for HCC within Milan criteria were included. Associations between patient features and events were estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method with the log rank test and using uni/multivariate Cox models.
RESULTS: 389 cirrhotic patients (Child-Pugh A 86.6%, 473 tumors) were included. OS was 79.8%, 42.4% and 16%, and overall tumor recurrence 45%, 78% and 88% at 2, 5 and 10 years, respectively. In multivariate analysis, age, Child-Pugh, GGT, HCC near major vessels, esophageal varices, alkaline phosphatase and HBV predicted OS. Gender, ALT, AFP and alcohol intake were associated with tumor recurrence. Multinodular HCC (19.5%) was associated with risk of tumor recurrence outside Milan criteria. HBV patients had longer OS than other patients (P = 0.0059); negative HBV PCR at RFA was associated with decreased tumor recurrence (P = 0.0157). Using time-dependent analysis in HCV patients, a sustained virologic response was associated with increased OS (124.5 months) compared to other patients (49.2 months, P < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Virologic response and severity of underlying liver disease were the main determinants of long-term OS after RFA for HCC developing on cirrhosis.