INTRODUCTION.: Hepatic resection (HR) is commonly applied as first-line treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) even in the era of liver transplantation (LT). METHODS.: Outcomes and detailed recurrence pattern of 80 patients, who underwent curative HR for HCC were examined referring to Milan criteria. RESULTS.: (I) After HR for HCCs exceeding Milan criteria (n=41), recurrence within the criteria was observed in 13 patients (group-A) and recurrence not-meeting the criteria was observed in 22 patients (group-B). group-A showed better 3-year recurrence-free survival rate than group-B (85.7% vs. 23.9%, P<0.05). Tumor size more than or equal to 6 cm was identified as the significant factor for having recurrence as in group-A pattern (P<0.05). Among the patients in group-A, re-recurrence after treating recurrent HCC was observed in eight patients (61.5%) with increased rate of extra-Milan criteria recurrence at 12 months from the initial recurrence. (II) After HR for HCCs meeting Milan criteria (n=39), recurrences within the criteria was observed in 15 patients (group-C) and recurrence not-meeting the criteria was observed in five patients (group-D). The 3-year recurrence-free survival rate was 62.8% in group-C and 40.0% in group-D (P<0.05). Increased rate of extra-Milan re-recurrence was observed later than 12 months from the recurrence in group-C. CONCLUSIONS.: For HCCs not meeting Milan criteria, secondary LT after primary HR could be applied for a proportion of cases with less aggressiveness. For those meeting Milan criteria, primary LT should be the first therapeutic option. However, secondary LT could be offered for those with re-recurrence within criteria after primary HR.
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