Changes in real-life practice for hepatocellular carcinoma patients in the Republic of Korea over a 12-year period: A nationwide random sample study

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Backgrounds & aims Comprehensive analyses through nationwide hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) registries are important to understand health care issues. We assessed changes in real-life practice for HCC over a long time period. Methods The Korean Liver Cancer Association and the Korean Central Cancer Registry jointly established the nationwide cohorts of newly diagnosed HCC patients between 2003 and 2005 and between 2008 and 2014. According to sorafenib reimbursement in the Republic of Korea (January 2011), patients were divided into early (E-Cohort: 2003~2010) and late (L-Cohort: 2011~2014) cohorts. Results L-Cohort (n = 4776) comprised patients with older age (60.8 vs. 58.3 years), higher proportions of patients with well-preserved liver function (75.6% vs. 68.2%) and non-viral etiologies (28.6% vs. 19.4%), and lower proportion of patients with Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer [BCLC] 0~A stage (46.2% vs. 53.9%) than E-Cohort (n = 8203) (all p<0.05). Proportions of patients undergoing curative treatments were higher in L-Cohort than in E-Cohort (55.0% vs. 35.1%, 23.2 vs. 11.3%, and 17.3% vs. 9.6% in BCLC 0A, B, and C stages, respectively; all p<0.05). Accordingly, compared with that in E-Cohort, overall survival in L-Cohort significantly improved in patients with BCLC 0~A, B, and C stages (all p<0.05). As first-line treatment, 62.4% underwent locoregional treatments (LRTs), whereas only 9.7% received sorafenib, among BCLC stage C patients in L-Cohort. Conclusions For the past 12 years, curative treatments became more widely available to BCLC 0~A, B, and C stage patients, generally improving prognosis. Despite sorafenib reimbursement, LRTs remain the mainstay of first-line treatment for BCLC C stage patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0223678
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Initial of the author who received the grant: JSS. The full name of funder: the research supporting program of the Korean Liver Cancer Association. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The database used in this study was provided by the Korean Central Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health and Welfare, South Korea as well as the Korean Liver Cancer Association.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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