Liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhotic patients

TitleLiver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhotic patients
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsChui AK, Rao AR, McCaughan GW, Waugh R, Verran DJ, Koorey D, Sheil AG
JournalAust N Z J Surg
Pagination798 - 801
Date PublishedNov
Accession Number10553969
Keywords*Liver Transplantation / mortality, Adolescent, Adult, Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / complications / mortality / *surgery, Female, Hepatitis B / complications, Hepatitis C / complications, Humans, Liver Cirrhosis / *complications, Liver Neoplasms / complications / mortality / *surgery, Male, Middle Aged, Patient Selection, Survival Analysis

BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with cirrhosis, due to a limited liver reserve, is often deemed unresectable, even at an early stage. METHODS: In order to evaluate the ongoing transplant programme for cirrhotic patients with HCC at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the results of liver transplantation (LTx) for HCC were analysed and the patient actuarial survival was compared with that of those LTx patients without malignancy. RESULTS: A total of 441 LTx were performed in 404 patients between January 1986 and April 1998. Twenty-four LTx recipients (22 men; two women) of mean age 49 (15-62) years had HCC. Twenty-one had underlying aetiology for their cirrhosis (hepatitis B: n = 9; hepatitis C: n = 8; hepatitis B and C: n = 1; haemochromatosis: n = 1; autoimmune hepatitis: n = 1; alcoholism: n = 1), while three patients had cryptogenic cirrhosis. Six patients had incidental tumours and another two cases were of the fibrolamellar type. The average tumour size and tumour number were 2.9 (0.4-11.5) cm and 1.3 (1-4), respectively. Operative mortality was 4.2% (1/24). The HCC recurrence appeared in one (4.2%) patient (with a 11.5-cm HCC) who died 18 months after LTx. A further two patients died (one graft failure from recurrent hepatitis C and one from fungal sepsis) during follow-up. The overall 1- and 3-year actuarial patient survival rates were 87% and 76%, respectively, and that of patients with benign causes (n = 369) were 77% and 72% (P = NS). CONCLUSION: With careful patient selection, long-term tumour-free patient survival can be achieved. The results support an active transplant programme for selected HCC.

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