Background: This study was undertaken to assess the outcome of potentially curative therapy for early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with Child-Pugh stage A cirrhosis as well as to investigate the impact of low-dose interferon (IFN) therapy after curative therapy on survival. Methods: This study retrospectively evaluated clinical outcomes in a cohort of 224 Child-Pugh stage A cirrhotic patients who received either resection (53 cases) or radiofrequency ablation (RFA: 171 cases) for HCC within Milan criteria. Thirty patients were treated with low-dose maintenance IFN therapy after initial curative therapy. The median follow-up period was 36.7 months. Results: The 5-year survival rate of all patients was 74.9%, with similar rates for the resection and RFA groups (70.4 vs. 76.8%; p = 0.561). The 5-year HCC recurrence rate was higher in the RFA group than the resection group (85.3 vs. 73.2%; p = 0.012). The maintenance IFN-treated group maintained their liver function within Child-Pugh stage A for a significantly longer time (median time 36.9 vs. 32.2 months; p = 0.0025). Conclusion: The 5-year outcomes of resection and RFA in patients with Child-Pugh stage A cirrhosis and early stage HCC were comparable with liver transplantation. Low-dose, long-term maintenance IFN therapy after curative therapy was significantly beneficial on survival.

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