Background The biology of hepatic epithelial haemangioendothelioma (HEHE) is variable, lying intermediate to haemangioma and angiosarcoma. Treatments vary owing to the rarity of the disease and frequent misdiagnosis. Methods Between 1989 and 2013, patients retrospectively identified with HEHE from a single academic cancer centre were analysed to evaluate clinicopathological factors and initial treatment regimens associated with survival. Results Fifty patients with confirmed HEHE had a median follow-up of 51 months (range 1-322). There was no difference in 5-year survival between patients presenting with unilateral compared with bilateral hepatic disease (51.4% versus 80.7%, respectively; P = 0.1), localized compared with metastatic disease (69% versus 78.3%, respectively; P = 0.7) or an initial treatment regimen of Surgery, Chemotherapy/Embolization or Observation alone (83.3% versus 71.3% versus 72.4%, respectively; P = 0.9). However, 5-year survival for patients treated with chemotherapy at any point during their disease course was decreased compared with those who did not receive any chemotherapy (43.6% versus 82.9%, respectively; P = 0.02) and was predictive of a decreased overall survival on univariate analysis [HR 3.1 (CI 0.9-10.7), P = 0.02]. Conclusions HEHE frequently follows an indolent course, suggesting that immediate treatment may not be the optimal strategy. Initial observation to assess disease behaviour may better stratify treatment options, reserving surgery for those who remain resectable/transplantable. Prospective cooperative trials or registries may confirm this strategy.
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