To review the management of spontaneous ruptured hepatocellular carcinoma in the acute phase, the definitive treatment after hemostasis, and the prognosis.
A MEDLINE search was undertaken to identify articles in English from 1970 to 2004 using the key words “hepatocellular carcinoma,” “spontaneous rupture,” “therapeutic embolization,” and “laparoscopy.” Additional articles were identified by a manual search of the references from the key articles.
There were no exclusion criteria for published information on the topics.
All studies that contained material applicable to the topic were considered.
In the acute phase, transarterial embolization for hemostasis has a high success rate (53%-100%). It has a lower 30-day mortality rate than open surgical methods (0%-37% vs 28%-75%). For the definitive treatment, staged liver resection has a higher resection rate (21%-56% vs 13%-31%) and a lower in-hospital mortality rate (0%-9% vs 17%-100%) than 1-stage emergency liver resection. Staged liver resection has a good survival rate (1-year survival, 54.2%-100%; 3-year survival, 21.2%-48%; 5-year survival, 15%-21.2%).
Transarterial embolization is effective in controlling bleeding from ruptured hepatocellular carcinoma in the acute phase. The serum bilirubin level, shock on hospital admission, and prerupture disease state are important prognostic factors to predict survival in the acute phase. For definitive treatment, staged liver resection after attaining hemostasis is better than 1-stage emergency liver resection. Laparoscopy and laparoscopic ultrasonography may decrease unnecessary exploratory laparotomy, thus increasing the resection rate of previously ruptured hepatocellular carcinoma. Prolonged survival can be achieved in select patients with definitive treatment. It is still uncertain whether the long-term outcome of liver resection is the same for hepatocellular carcinoma with and without rupture when patients with the same tumor stage and liver functional state are compared.