Midterm results with hepatectomy after preoperative chemotherapy in hepatoblastoma
We evaluated the results of surgical treatment for hepatoblastoma in infants and children after intensive preoperative chemotherapy, with special reference to histology and extent of liver involvement. The clinical features of 10 children with hepatoblastoma were reviewed regarding response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, histological subtypes, extent of hepatectomy, operative complications, and prognosis. Response to chemotherapy was measured by volumetric assessment of tumour size by computed tomography scan. Cisplatin and Adriamycin (PLADO regime) up to three cycles markedly reduced the tumour volume on computed tomography (mean regression rate 65.9%); alpha-foetoprotein (AFP) levels also decreased from an initial mean of 16,116.4 ng/ml to 2,050.9 ng/ml. Five patients underwent right hepatectomy, two had right trisegmentectomy, two had left hepatectomy, and one had left trisegmentectomy. Histopathology of resected specimens revealed foetal histology in four patients, poorly differentiated (anaplastic) subtype in three, and mixed histology with mesenchymal components and osteoid formation in three. There was 100% resectability including six unresectable tumours (prechemotherapy). Moreover, hepatic resection tended to be less invasive in patients whose tumours had been much reduced after preoperative chemotherapy. Preoperative administration of cisplatin and Adriamycin reduces the tumour size significantly so that a safe radical hepatectomy can be performed. It also allows early administration of postoperative chemotherapy. Although overall good results were obtained with the current protocol, we also document our experience of unfavourable outcomes in patients with bilobar tumours (despite trisegmentectomy), patients with tumours showing poor response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and patients with anaplastic histology. Overall, at a 60-month follow-up we report an 80% survival rate by a combined approach.
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