Chemotherapy can convert unresectable hepatoblastoma

M. Reynolds*, E. C. Douglass, M. Finegold, A. Cantor, A. Glicksman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The surgical evaluation and management of children with hepatoblastoma has changed with recent advances in imaging modalities and preoperative chemotherapy. Pediatric Oncology Group (POG) Study no. 8697 has followed 63 patients with hepatoblastoma from 1986 to 1991. Twenty-six patients underwent primary tumor resection followed by chemotherapy consisting of cisplatin, vincristine, and 5-fluorouracil (group I). Thirty-seven patients with "unresectable" tumors received preoperative chemotherapy. Twenty-nine of these patients responded to chemotherapy and 26 underwent delayed surgical resection (group II). Eight patients had an inadequate response to chemotherapy; two have had successful liver transplantation and six are dead of disease progression. "Unresectable tumor" involved both liver lobes (25 patients), encased the inferior vena cava (2), involved adjacent tissues (1), involved the hepatic veins (2), or was deemed too large for safe resection (7). Two patients had distant metastases. The reason for an unresectable designation was not reported in five patients. The determination for an unresectable designation included exploratory laparotomy in 14 patients, angiogram in 7, computed tomography scan in 20, and magnetic resonance imaging in 3 patients. Operative times and transfusion requirements were similar in both groups. Perioperative complications were higher in patients in group II. There was no mortality and only minor morbidity associated with chemotherapy in each group. In both groups 77% of the patients are in complete remission after 13 to 54 months. Preoperative chemotherapy can allow successful resection of initially "unresectable" hepatoblastoma. Primary resection that may result in exsanguination should be postponed and chemotherapy given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1080-1084
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1992


  • Hepatoblastoma
  • preoperative chemotherapy
  • unresectable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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