AIM: To understand the proportion of uHCC (unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma) patients who achieve successful conversion resection in a high-volume setting with state of the art treatment options. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed all HCC patients hospitalized to our center from June 1st, 2019 to June 1st, 2022. Conversion rate, clinicopathological features, response to systemic and/or loco-regional therapy and surgical outcomes were analyzed. RESULTS: A total of 1,904 HCC patients were identified, with 1672 patients receiving anti-HCC treatment. 328 patients were considered up-front resectable. Of the remaining 1344 uHCC patients, 311 received loco-regional treatment, 224 received systemic treatment, and the remainder (809) received combination systemic plus loco-regional treatment. Following treatment, one patient from the systemic group and 25 patients from the combination group were considered to have resectable disease. A high objective response rate (ORR) was observed in these converted patients (42.3% under RECIST v1.1 and 76.9% under mRECIST criteria). The disease control rate (DCR) reached 100%. 23 patients underwent curative hepatectomy. Major post-operative morbidity was equivalent in the both groups (P=0.76). Pathologic complete response (pCR) was 39.1%. During conversion treatment, grade 3 or higher treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) were observed in 50% of patients. The median follow-up time was 12.9 months (range, 3.9~40.6) from index diagnosis and 11.4 months (range, 0.9~26.9) from resection. Three patients experienced disease recurrence following conversion surgery. CONCLUSIONS: By intensive treatment, a small sub-group of uHCC patients (2%) may potentially be converted to curative resection. Loco-regional combined with systemic modality was relative safe and effective in the conversion therapy. Short-term outcomes are encouraging, but long-term follow-up in a larger patient population are required to fully understand the utility of this approach.
Conversion therapy, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs), Tumor response, Humans, Carcinoma, Hepatocellular, Liver Neoplasms, Retrospective Studies, Neoplasm Recurrence, Local, Combined Modality Therapy