Background: There is no consensus regarding the selection of treatment options for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after initial transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). This meta-analysis aimed to explore the survival benefit of hepatic resection after initial TACE for the treatment of HCC. Materials and
Methods: We searched three major databases to identify all relevant papers comparing the outcomes of hepatic resection after initial TACE versus TACE alone for the treatment of HCC. Hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (95%CIs) were calculated to evaluate the survival benefit of hepatic resection after initial TACE over TACE alone.
Results: Three of 2037 initially identified papers were included. All of them were cohort studies from Asia. There was a significantly better overall survival (OS) in patients undergoing hepatic resection after initial TACE than in those undergoing TACE alone (HR=0.63, 95%CI=0.52-0.76, P<0.00001). The heterogeneity among studies was not statistically significant (P=0.96; I2=0%).
Conclusions: Hepatic resection could improve the OS of HCC patients treated with initial TACE. Further randomized controlled trials should be necessary to identify the target population for the sequential use of hepatic resection after initial TACE and to compare the outcomes between patients undergoing hepatic resection after initial TACE session versus those undergoing TACE alone.