This study was conducted to assess the progression and prognosis of a total of 108 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCCs) smaller than 5 cm in diameter treated by percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI) with or without transcatheter arterial chemoembolization. All patients were classified as Child-Pugh A (n = 84) or B (n = 24). Logarithm of hazard rate (per month) with time since therapy was assessed. The Weibull model was used to elucidate the effect of pretreatment clinico-pathologic variables on prognosis. The rate of death increased by 4.7% (95% CI: 3.7-5.7%) per month since treatment. Child-Pugh B status was associated with a 2.8-fold risk (95% CI: 1.52-5.16) of death. Those with a high level of AST or alcoholic cirrhotics had a two-fold risk (95% CI:1.14-3.42) for death from HCC. Our results suggest the optimal frequency of clinical surveillance of small HCC cases after treatment should take account of increased hazard rate with time and the roles of pretreatment clinico-pathologic variables.
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