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Prognosis After Resection of Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) Stage 0, A, and B Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Comprehensive Assessment of the Current BCLC Classification

Diamantis I. Tsilimigras MD, Fabio Bagante MD, Kota Sahara MD, Dimitrios Moris MD, PhD, J. Madison Hyer MS, Lu Wu MD, Francesca Ratti MD, Hugo P. Marques MD, Olivier Soubrane MD, Anghela Z. Paredes MD, MS, Vincent Lam MD, George A. Poultsides MD, Irinel Popescu MD, Sorin Alexandrescu MD, Guillaume Martel MD, Aklile Workneh MD, Alfredo Guglielmi MD, Tom Hugh MD, Luca Aldrighetti MD, Itaru Endo MD,
Hepatobiliary Tumors
Volume 26, Issue 11 / October , 2019



Although the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) staging system has been largely adopted in clinical practice, recent studies have questioned the prognostic stratification of this classification schema, as well as the proposed treatment allocation of patients with a single large tumor.


Patients who underwent curative-intent hepatectomy for histologically proven hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) between 1998 and 2017 were identified using an international multi-institutional database. Overall survival (OS) among patients with BCLC stage 0, A, and B was examined. Patients with a single large tumor were classified as BCLC stage A1 and were independently assessed.


Among 814 patients, 68 (8.4%) were BCLC-0, 310 (38.1%) were BCLC-A, 279 (34.3%) were BCLC-A1, and 157 (19.3%) were BCLC-B. Five-year OS among patients with BCLC stage 0, A, A1, and B HCC was 86.2%, 69.0%, 56.9%, and 49.9%, respectively (p < 0.001). Among patients with very early- and early-stage HCC (BCLC 0, A, and A1), patients with BCLC stage A1 had the worst OS (p = 0.0016). No difference in survival was noted among patients undergoing surgery for BCLC stage A1 and B HCC (5-year OS: 56.9% vs. 49.9%; p = 0.259) even after adjusting for competing factors (hazard ratio 0.83, 95% confidence interval 0.54–1.28; p = 0.40).


Prognosis following liver resection among patients with BCLC-A1 HCC was similar to patients presenting with BCLC-B tumors. Surgery provided acceptable long-term outcomes among select patients with BCLC-B HCC. Designation into BCLC stage B should not be considered an a priori contraindication to surgery.

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