Laparoscopic liver resection for large HCC: short- and long-term outcomes in relation to tumor size

  • Giovanni Battista Levi Sandri
  • Gabriele Spoletini
  • Giovanni Vennarecci
  • Elisa Francone
  • Mohammed Abu Hilal
  • Giuseppe Maria Ettorre



In this study, we aim to assess the impact of tumor size on clinical and oncological outcomes in patients undergoing laparoscopic liver resection (LLR) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


LLR has been shown to be feasible, safe, and oncologically efficient. However, it has been slow to develop in patients with HCC who often suffer from chronic liver disease which represents an additional challenge for the surgeon. The experience with large HCCs is even more limited.


Between 2003 and 2016, 172 patients from two high-volume liver surgery centers underwent LLR for HCC. Prospectively collected data were analyzed after stratification in 3 groups according to tumor major diameter (group 1: < 3 cm; group 2: between 3 and 5 cm; group 3: ≥ 5 cm). Perioperative and long-term outcomes were compared between the three groups and sub-analyses were carried out on the extent and location of the resections.


Groups 1, 2, and 3 consisted of 82, 52, and 38 patients, respectively. Minor and major resections were performed in 98.8% and 1.2% in group 1, in 90.4% and 9.6% in group 2, and in 68.4% and 31.6% in group 3, respectively. Postero-superior “technically major” resections were performed in 15.8% patients in group 1, in 19.2% in group 2, and in 15.8% in group 3, respectively. Group 3 had higher conversion rates (p < 0.001), more frequent (p = 0.056) and more prolonged (p = 0,075) pedicle clamping and longer operative time (p < 0.001), higher blood losses (p = 0.025), and longer total hospital and intensive care unit stays. These differences ceased after removing the major resections from the study population, except for the postoperative length of stay. There were no differences in morbidity, mortality, completeness of resection rates, and long-term outcomes between the three groups.


LLR for HCC appears to be safe and oncologically efficient when performed in high-volume HPB and laparoscopic centers. Tumor size does not appear to impact negatively on the outcomes except for postoperative hospital stay.


Hepatocellular carcinoma Laparoscopy Liver resection 5 cm Southampton 



No funding information to disclose.

Compliance with ethical standards


Giovanni Battista Levi Sandri, Gabriele Spoletini, Giovanni Vennarecci, Elisa Francone, Mohammed Abu Hilal, and Giuseppe Maria Ettorre have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

Supplementary material

464_2018_6225_MOESM1_ESM.docx (105 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 104 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Battista Levi Sandri
    • 1
  • Gabriele Spoletini
    • 2
  • Giovanni Vennarecci
    • 1
  • Elisa Francone
    • 2
  • Mohammed Abu Hilal
    • 2
  • Giuseppe Maria Ettorre
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of General Surgery and Liver TransplantationSan Camillo HospitalRomeItaly
  2. 2.University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation TrustSouthamptonUK

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