Macrovascular invasion (MaVI) is often detected by radiologic imaging in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients and may affect their long-term survival. We aimed to investigate the prevalence, determinants, and prognostic impact of MaVI in patients with HCC receiving curative and noncurative therapies.
A total of 2654 HCC patients in a single center were identified. The risk factors and prognostic determinants of MaVI were determined.
A total of 928 (35%) patients had MaVI. Old age, lower serum α-fetoprotein level, higher serum sodium level, good performance status, smaller total tumor volume, and better liver functional reserve were significantly associated with a lower risk for VI. In the Cox proportional hazards model, patients with lower serum albumin level, higher serum bilirubin and α-fetoprotein level, worse performance status, the presence of ascites, and MaVI independently predicted a decreased long-term survival in patients undergoing both curative and noncurative treatments. In addition, lower sodium level and larger tumor size were independently associated with a poor outcome in the noncurative treatment group. Of the patients with MaVI, the 1-year survival rates for patients receiving surgical treatment, local ablation, transarterial chemoembolization, and supportive care were 83%, 75%, 57%, and 24%, respectively (P<0.001).
MaVI represents a distinct tumor phenotype of HCC and is associated with younger age, aggressive tumor behavior, poor liver functional reserve, and poor performance status. It adversely affects the survival of HCC patients independent of treatment strategy. Intensive anticancer therapy should be proposed to achieve a better long-term survival for the at-risk patients.