Objective:We reviewed nationwide follow-up data to determine outcomes of different treatments for early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in elderly patients.Summary Background Data:Outcomes of early-stage HCC treatments in elderly patients have not been prospectively compared. Methods:We included 6490 HCC patients, aged ≥75 years at treatment, who underwent curative hepatic resection (HR, n = 2020), radiofrequency ablation (RFA, n = 1888), microwave ablation (MWA, n = 193), or transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE, n = 2389), and compared their characteristics and survival. We used matching propensity score analysis (PSA) between the HR and RFA subgroups with tumors ≤3 cm to overcome baseline bias.Results:The HR group had significantly longer recurrence-free survival (RFS) than the RFA, MWA, and TACE groups [RFA vs HR - hazard ratio: 1.22, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.09-1.37, P < 0.001; MWA vs HR - hazard ratio: 1.51, 95% CI: 1.22-1.88, P < 0.001; TACE vs HR - hazard ratio: 2.70, 95% CI: 2.44-2.99, P < 0.001). HR and RFA patients had significantly longer overall survival (OS) than the TACE group (RFA vs HR - hazard ratio: 1.01, 95% CI: 0.87-1.17, P = 0.919, TACE vs HR - hazard ratio: 2.11, 95% CI: 1.86-2.40, P < 0.001). PSA successfully matched HR and RFA patients from with primary HCC tumors ≤3.0 cm and similar liver function and tumor characteristics; and showed significantly longer RFS (hazard ratio: 1.64, 95% CI: 1.29-2.10, P < 0.001) and OS (hazard ratio: 1.57, 95% CI: 1.12-2.20, P = 0.009) for HR than for RFA (including subgroup analyses). In Cox proportional hazard analysis, HR offered better prognosis than RFA. Conclusions:HR decreases recurrence risk and improves OS in patients aged ≥75 years with primary HCC tumors ≤3.0 cm.
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