Purpose: The role of transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE) for patients with resectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is controversial. Analyzing a cohort of nation-wide data can delineate the beneficial effect of TAE for those patients. Methods: From 1991 to 1995, 818 patients who had potentially resectable HCC from four medical centers in Taiwan were enrolled. Among them, 599 underwent curative resection, 157 received TAE and 62 received supportive treatment alone. The survivals among the three groups were compared. Results: The 5-year survival rates for patients who underwent surgery, TAE and supportive treatment were 43.6%, 25.6% and 3.7%, respectively. Surgery offered the best survival for those patients. TAE could also prolong survival as compared with supportive treatment (P = 0.0001). However, among patients who were in advanced tumor stage (Cancer and the Liver Italian Program (CLIP) score ≥ 2), no statistical difference in survival was noted between patients who underwent TAE or supportive treatment. In multivariate analysis, single tumor, serum albumin ≥ 3.5 g/dl, tumor size less than 5 cm, early-stage tumor (CLIP score = 0-1) and aggressive treatment including surgery and TAE were independent factors associated with a better survival. Conclusions: Surgery is superior to TAE for patients with resectable HCC. In patients who refuse surgery, TAE can be considered for selected patients whose tumors are in early stage.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes