Recurrence of diseases following orthotopic liver transplantation

Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jun;101(6):1370-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2006.00586.x.


Long-term graft survival and mortality after liver transplantation continue to improve. However, disease recurrence remains a major stumbling block, especially among patients with hepatitis C. Chronic hepatitis C recurs to varying degrees in nearly all patients who undergo transplantation. Transplantation for hepatitis C is associated with higher rates of graft failure and death compared with transplantation for other indications, and retransplantation for hepatitis C related liver failure remains controversial. Recurrence of hepatitis B has been markedly reduced with improved prophylactic regimens. Further, rates of hepatocellular carcinoma recurrence have also decreased, as improved patient selection criteria have prioritized transplantation for those with a low risk of recurrence. Primary biliary cirrhosis recurs in some patients, but it is often relatively mild. Autoimmune liver disease has also been shown to have a relatively benign post-transplantation course, but some studies have indicated that it slowly progresses in most recipients. It has been recently reported that alcoholic liver disease liver transplant recipients who return to drinking have worsened mortality. In such patients worse outcomes are not due to graft failure, but instead to other comorbidities. Recurrences of other diseases, including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and primary sclerosing cholangitis, are now being recognized as having potentially detrimental effects on graft survival and mortality. Expert clinical management may help prevent and treat complications associated with disease recurrence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / pathology
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / surgery
  • Graft Survival
  • Hepatitis B / pathology
  • Hepatitis B / surgery
  • Hepatitis C / pathology
  • Hepatitis C / surgery
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune / pathology
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune / surgery
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / surgery
  • Liver Diseases / pathology*
  • Liver Diseases / surgery*
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / pathology
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / surgery
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery
  • Liver Transplantation*