There is conflicting evidence whether allogeneic blood transfusion influences survival or cancer recurrence after resection of hepatocellular cancer. We followed up 1469 patients who had undergone hepatocellular resection for a median (IQR [range]) of 45 (21–78 [0–162]) months, of whom 626 (43%) had had blood transfusion within 7 days of surgery. Both disease-free survival and patient survival were measured using a proportional hazards regression model and inverse probability of treatment weighting. We used restricted cubic splines for the association of the number of packed red blood cell units transfused with cancer recurrence and survival. We found that peri-operative blood transfusion was independently associated with survival and cancer recurrence after resection of hepatocellular carcinoma. Adjusted hazard ratios (95%CI) for the association of blood transfusion with cancer recurrence and all-cause mortality were 1.3 (1.1–1.4) and 1.9 (1.6–2.3), p < 0.001 for both. With more units transfused cancer recurrence was more likely and survival was shorter. The association of the number of transfused units was non-linear for cancer recurrence and linear response for all-cause mortality.
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