Living-donor liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma

Transplantation. 2003 Feb 15;75(3 Suppl):S37-40. doi: 10.1097/01.TP.0000047029.02806.16.


In cadaveric liver transplantation, the Milan criteria have been accepted as the selection criteria for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients in considering organ allocation. However, the situation is different in living-donor liver transplantation (LDLT), in which the donor has a strong preference for altruism. The authors describe herein their experience with LDLT for HCC patients using their patient selection criteria. From February 1999 to March 2002, right lobe LDLT was performed in 56 patients with HCC. The authors' exclusion criteria included only those with extrahepatic metastasis or vascular invasion detected during preoperative evaluation. Thirty patients (54%) were in tumor, node, metastases stage IVa and 25 patients (45%) did not meet the Milan criteria at the time of LDLT. The follow-up period was 1 to 39 months (median, 11 months). The overall survival rates at 1 and 3 years were 73% and 55%, respectively, and the latter was significantly lower than that of adult right lobe LDLT without HCC (71% at 3 years). Fourteen patients died because of postoperative complications without tumor recurrence. Thirty-six patients survived without recurrence and six patients had recurrence. Among the six patients with recurrence, four had survived for 11 to 36 months after LDLT. In the analysis of patients who survived longer than 3 months after transplantation, 19 of 20 within the Milan criteria survived without recurrence. However, 15 of 20 patients beyond the criteria also survived without recurrence for 3 to 33 months (median, 12 months) and three of five patients with recurrence were alive for 11 to 36 months (median, 20 months). Histopathologic grading and microscopic portal venous invasion had significant negative impact on tumor recurrence. LDLT was an effective treatment for uncontrollable hepatocellular carcinoma. Because many patients who did not meet the Milan criteria survived without tumor recurrence after transplantation, different patient selection criteria are necessary in LDLT to save those with advanced HCC.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation* / methods
  • Living Donors*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology
  • Patient Selection
  • Portal Vein / pathology
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Survival Analysis