Impact of pretransplantation transarterial chemoembolization on survival and recurrence after liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma

Liver Transpl. 2005 Jul;11(7):767-775. doi: 10.1002/lt.20418.


The actual impact of transarterial chemoembolization before liver transplantation (LT) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) on patient survival and HCC recurrence is not known. Between 1985 and 1998, 479 patients with HCC in 14 French centers were evaluated for LT. Among these 479 patients, this case-control study included 100 patients who received transarterial chemoembolization before LT (TACE group) and 100 control patients who did not receive chemoembolization (no-TACE group). Patients and controls were matched for the pre-LT tumor characteristics, the period of transplantation, the time spent on the waiting list, and pre- and posttransplantation treatments. Kaplan-Meier estimates were calculated 5 years after LT and were compared with the log-rank test. The mean waiting time before LT was 4.2 +/- 3.2 months in the TACE group and 4.3 +/- 4.4 months in the no-TACE group. The median number of TACE procedures was 1 (range: 1-12). Demographic data, median alpha-fetoprotein level (21.6 ng/mL and 22.0 ng/mL, respectively), and pre- and post-LT morphologic characteristics of the tumors did not differ in the TACE and no-TACE groups. Overall 5-year survival was 59.4% with TACE and 59.3% without TACE (ns). Survival rates did not differ significantly between the two groups with respect to the time on the waiting list, the tumor diameter, or the type of TACE (selective or nonselective). In the TACE group, 30 patients had tumor necrosis > or =80% on the liver explant with a 5-year survival rate of 63.2%, compared with 54.2% among their matched controls (P = 0.9). In conclusion, with a mean waiting period of 4.2 months and 1 TACE procedure, pre-LT TACE does not influence post-LT overall survival and disease-free survival.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chemoembolization, Therapeutic*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Liver Transplantation* / methods
  • Liver Transplantation* / mortality
  • Necrosis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Waiting Lists