Clinical trials have demonstrated that Trametes robinophila Murr (Huaier granule) can inhibit recurrence and metastasis after hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) resection, but its efficacy as an adjuvant therapy after thermal ablation of early HCC is unknown.
To analyze the prognostic value and side effects of Huaier granules in HCC patients undergoing thermal ablation.
Clinical information from 340 eligible subjects with early-stage HCC who were admitted to our department from September 1, 2008 to January 1, 2019 was extracted from the electronic medical record database. They were divided into the thermal ablation + TCM group and the thermal ablation group. Differences in their overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), extrahepatic metastatic rate (EMR), and therapeutic side effects (TSEs) between the two groups were compared. Beneficiaries of the integrated treatment and adequate treatment length were predicted.
The median follow-up was 32.5 months (range 2-122 months). The 1-year, 3-year and 5-year OS rates in the integrated treatment group and the control group were 93.2% vs. 92.6%, 54.5% vs. 51.4% 23.5% vs. 19.7% (P = 0.110, HR 0.76(0.54-1.07)). The 1-year, 3-year and 5-year PFS rates were 78.8% vs. 69.4%, 50.6% vs. 40.6%, 35.3% vs. 26.5%, respectively (P = 0.020, HR 0.67(0.48-0.94)). The median OS (35 vs. 31 months) and PFS (24 vs. 12.5 months) were longer in the integrated treatment group. The EMR in the integrated treatment group was significantly lower than that in the control group (p = 0.018, HR 0.49 (0.27-0.89)). Patients with any two of the following three factors might be predicted to be beneficiaries of the integrated treatment, including younger than 65 years (p = 0.039, HR 0.704 (0.504-0.983)), single tumor (p = 0.035, HR 0.698 (0.499-0.975), and tumor size ≤3 cm (p = 0.029, HR 0.690 (0.495-0.964). Patients with continuous oral administration of TCM following ablation had a lower probability of recurrence and metastasis within 2 years (p = 0.015, HR 0.67 (0.49-0.93)). Although the integrated treatment group reported a higher incidence of nausea and emesis, there were no significant differences between the two groups.
TCM following ablation may prolong PFS and suppress recurrence in patients with HCC, with continuous oral administration for more than 2 years maybe experience a greater benefit. The TSEs of the treatment are mild and can be tolerated.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.