Selection of treatment modalities for hepatocellular carcinoma at stages T1 and T2: A preliminary analysis based on the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry database
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Purpose: To explore the selection of treatment modalities for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) at stages T1 and/or T2 and to compare the survival of patients treated with surgery alone vs radiation therapy (RT) alone. Methods: Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database was used to identify the patients diagnosed with HCC between 2004 and 2013. The tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) stage was established according to the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Staging. After age, sex, TNM stage, and tumor extension were matched, the survival was further compared between patients undergoing surgery alone vs RT alone. Results: Of 11967 patients at stages T1 (n=7829) and T2 (n=4138), 10449 (87.31%) underwent surgery alone, 1241 (10.37%) RT alone, and 277 (2.32%) surgery combined with RT. Compared with those treated with RT alone and in combination with surgery, patients treated with surgery alone were younger, with smaller tumor size, higher proportion of females, single lesion, and AJCC stage I/II, and lower proportion of regional and distant lymph nodes, bone, brain, and lung invasion. Among them, 758 pairs (surgery alone and RT alone) at stage T1 and 430 pairs (surgery alone and RT alone) at stage T2 were matched. Regardless of stage T1 or T2, patients undergoing surgery alone had a significantly better cumulative survival than those undergoing RT alone (p<0.001). Conclusion: The treatment selection of HCC was dependent on the age, sex, tumor size, number of lesions, and extrahe-patic invasion. Surgery alone should be the preferred treatment modality of HCC at stages T1 and T2.