Extended indication for living donor liver transplantation in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

Transplantation. 2007 Apr 15;83(7):893-9. doi: 10.1097/01.tp.0000259015.46798.ec.


Background: Liver transplantation is an accepted treatment option for patients with otherwise untreatable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The present study assessed the outcome of living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) under extended selection criteria based on a single-center experience.

Methods: A total of 60 patients who underwent LDLT for HCC were included. Our indication for LDLT included HCC without extrahepatic spread or macroscopic vascular invasion. The size and number of HCC nodules were not limited. Recurrence-free survival rates according to various factors were compared to identify risk factors for recurrence.

Results: Forty patients (67%) preoperatively exceeded the Milan criteria. The median follow-up was 437 days (range: 23-1,385 days). The overall 1- and 3-year actuarial survival rates were 88.4 and 68.6%, respectively. HCC recurred in eight patients (14.3%) within a mean follow-up of 288 days; all were patients who exceeded the Milan criteria. The 1-, 2- and 3-year recurrence-free survival rates of patients who fulfilled the Milan criteria were 100%, 100%, and 100%, respectively, whereas those of patients who exceeded the criteria were 83.0%, 74.0%, and 74.0%, respectively. Tumor diameter >5 cm was significantly associated with worse prognosis, but the number of tumors was not. A preoperative des-gamma-carboxy prothrombin value >300 mAU/ml was strongly associated with the high recurrence rate. These two variables were significant in multivariate analysis.

Conclusions: LDLT was shown to offer acceptable results in patients who exceeded the Milan criteria. The indication for LDLT can therefore be expanded beyond the Milan criteria, especially for patients with small multiple tumors <5 cm.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery*
  • Child
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation / mortality
  • Liver Transplantation / physiology*
  • Living Donors*
  • Male
  • Nephrectomy / methods
  • Patient Selection
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • alpha-Fetoproteins / analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • alpha-Fetoproteins