Purpose: Diaphragmatic involvement is relatively uncommon in patients undergoing a hepatectomy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The aim of this study was to evaluate the short- and long-term surgical impacts of HCC with gross diaphragmatic involvement in patients undergoing an en bloc resection of the diaphragm. Methods: Between 1990 and 2007, 911 patients with HCC underwent a hepatectomy at our institution. Twenty-seven patients (3.0%) had had gross involvement of the diaphragm. Thirteen patients (1.4%) had undergone an en bloc resection of the diaphragm, and 14 (1.5%) had received only a blunt dissection. The short-term surgical impacts (surgical morbidity and mortality) and long-term surgical impacts (overall and disease-free survival) were compared between the groups. Results: In patients with an en bloc resection of the diaphragm as compared with those who received a blunt dissection, the values of total bilirubin and the indocyanine green retention rate at 15 min were significantly better (P < 0.01 and P = 0.04, respectively), and the rate of positivity for the hepatitis B antigen was significantly higher (P = 0.02). The positive rates of microscopic fibrocapsular invasion (P = 0.03), microscopic vascular invasion (P = 0.04), and Ki-67 immunostaining (P = 0.04) were significantly higher in patients with an en bloc resection of the diaphragm. There were no significant differences in the short-term and long-term surgical impacts between the groups. Conclusion: An en bloc resection of the diaphragm in patients with gross diaphragmatic involvement of HCC is therefore justified, since there are no significant differences in short- or long-term surgical impacts in comparison with the patients receiving blunt dissection.
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