Hepatocellular carcinoma in children and effect of living-donor liver transplantation on outcome

Pediatr Transplant. 2006 Feb;10(1):42-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2005.00395.x.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is primarily observed in the older children and in most cases it develops in association with liver cirrhosis. Liver transplantation offers a good chance for long-term cure. To evaluate the outcome of children with HCC and the impact of living-donor orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) on survival a retrospective review of radiographic, laboratory, pathologic, and therapeutic data in 13 children (six female and seven male) with chronic liver disease accompanied with HCC were studied. The patients were divided into two groups according to therapeutic modality: transplanted and non-transplanted patients. Kaplan-Meier survival curves in various therapeutic groups were plotted. The mean age of patients was 6.4 +/- 4.8 yr. Pediatric end-stage liver disease score was adapted to model for end-stage liver disease score for HCC and ranged between 1-44 and 18-44, respectively. The underlying liver diseases were tyrosinemia type 1 (n = 6), chronic hepatitis B infection (n = 6), glycogen storage disease type 1 (n = 1). Alfa-feto protein levels were elevated in all patients except one. Median number of tumor nodules was three (1-10), median maximal diameter of tumor nodules was 3.4 cm (0.5-8). Eleven patients were eligible for OLT whereas two patients were not eligible. Seven of the 11 patients considered for transplantation underwent living-donor OLT. Remaining four patients died while waiting on cadaveric transplant list. Overall 1 and 4-yr survival rates for all patients were 53.3 and 26.6%, respectively, and were found significantly higher in transplanted children than non-transplanted children (72%, 72% vs. 33% and 16.6%). No patient had tumor recurrence at median of 36-month follow-up after OLT. OLT is a life-saving procedure for children with chronic liver disease accompanying with HCC. Living-donor OLT avoids the risk of tumor progression and transplant ineligibility in these children.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / complications
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis / surgery
  • Liver Neoplasms / complications
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Living Donors*
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome