Liver transplantation for non-hepatocellular carcinoma malignancy: Indications, limitations, and analysis of the current literature

Liver Transpl. 2010 Aug;16(8):930-42. doi: 10.1002/lt.22106.


Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) is currently incorporated into the treatment regimens for specific nonhepatocellular malignancies. For patients suffering from early-stage, unresectable hilar cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), OLT preceded by neoadjuvant radiotherapy has the potential to readily achieve a tumor-free margin, accomplish a radical resection, and treat underlying primary sclerosing cholangitis when present. In highly selected stage I and II patients with CCA, the 5-year survival rate is 80%. As additional data are accrued, OLT with neoadjuvant chemoradiation may become a viable alternative to resection for patients with localized, node-negative hilar CCA. Hepatic involvement from neuroendocrine tumors can be treated with OLT when metastases are unresectable or for palliation of medically uncontrollable symptoms. Five-year survival rates as high as 90% have been reported, and the Ki67 labeling index can be used to predict outcomes after OLT. Hepatic epithelioid hemangioendothelioma is a rare tumor of vascular origin. The data from single-institution series are limited, but compiled reviews have reported 1- and 10-year survival rates of 96% and 72%, respectively. Hepatoblastoma is the most common primary hepatic malignancy in children. There exist subtle differences in the timing of chemotherapy between US and European centers; however, the long-term survival rate after transplantation ranges from 66% to 77%. Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma is a distinct liver malignancy best treated by surgical resection. However, there is an increasing amount of data supporting OLT when resection is contraindicated. In the treatment of either primary or metastatic hepatic sarcomas, unacceptable survival and recurrence rates currently prohibit the use of OLT.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / therapy
  • Hemangioendothelioma / therapy
  • Hepatoblastoma / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Liver Transplantation / methods*
  • Medical Oncology / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / therapy
  • Sarcoma / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunosuppressive Agents