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BACKGROUND: Laparoscopic liver resections for malignancy are increasing worldwide, and yet data from North America are lacking. We aimed to assess the long-term outcomes of patients undergoing laparoscopic liver resection and open liver resection as a treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma.

METHODS: Patients undergoing liver resection for hepatocellular carcinoma between January 2008 and December 2019 were retrospectively studied. A propensity score matching was performed using patient demographics, laboratory parameters, etiology of liver disease, liver function, and tumor characteristics. Primary outcomes included overall survival and cumulative incidence of recurrence. Kaplan-Meier and competing risk cumulative incidence were used for survival analyses. Multivariable Cox regression and Fine-Gray proportional hazard regression were performed to determine hazard for death and recurrence, respectively.

RESULTS: Three hundred and ninety-one patients were identified (laparoscopic liver resection: 110; open liver resection: 281). After propensity score matching, 149 patients remained (laparoscopic liver resection: 57; open liver resection: 92). There were no significant differences between groups with regard to extent of hepatectomy performed and tumor characteristics. The laparoscopic liver resection group experienced a lower proportion of ≥Clavien-Dindo grade III complications (14% vs 29%; P = .01). In the matched cohort, the 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival rate in the laparoscopic liver resection versus open liver resection group was 90.9%, 79.3%, 70.5% vs 91.3%, 88.5%, 83.1% (P = .26), and the cumulative incidence of recurrence 31.1%, 59.7%, 62.9% vs 18.9%, 40.6%, 49.2% (P = .06), respectively.

CONCLUSION: This study represents the largest single institutional study from North America comparing long-term oncologic outcomes of laparoscopic liver resection and open liver resection as a treatment for primary hepatocellular carcinoma. The combination of reduced short-term complications and equivalent long-term oncologic outcomes favor the laparoscopic approach when feasible.

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ePub ahead of print