Purpose Pulmonary metastasis is the most common type of extrahepatic recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The outcome of pulmonary metastasectomy of HCC has not yet been thoroughly investigated. The outcomes of surgical treatment of pulmonary metastases from HCC were reviewed in order to analyze the postoperative survival and the relevant prognostic factors. Methods This study retrospectively reviewed 20 patients who underwent pulmonary metastasectomy from an HCC between 1990 and 2007 at two institutions. The surgical outcome was evaluated by both the overall survival and cancer-specific survival after pulmonary resection. The association between various clinico-pathological factors and the survival outcome was analyzed. Results The overall survival rate after the initial pulmonary metastasectomy was 46.9% at 5 years, and the cancer-specific 5-year survival rate was 63.2%. One patient died of surgery-related events 19 days after the pulmonary resection. The preoperative AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) level was found to be a significant prognostic factor for both overall and cancer-specific survival for patients undergoing pulmonary metastasectomy. Both the overall and cancerspecific survival rates were significantly worse for the patients with AFP ≥ 500 ng/ml in comparison to those with AFP<500 ng/ml (plt;0.05). No other factors were associated with the survival after pulmonary metastasectomy. Conclusion The serum level of AFP might be a valuable predictor for the outcome of pulmonary metastasectomy required for metastasis of HCC.
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