Scoring selection criteria including total tumour volume and pretransplant percentage of lymphocytes to predict recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma after liver transplantation

PLoS One. 2013 Aug 21;8(8):e72235. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072235. eCollection 2013.


Aim: The selection criteria for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to undergo liver transplantation should accurately predict posttransplant recurrence while not denying potential beneficiaries. In the present study, we attempted to identify risk factors associated with posttransplant recurrence and to expand the selection criteria.

Patients and methods: Adult patients with HCC who underwent liver transplantation between November 2004 and September 2012 at our centre were recruited into the current study (N = 241). Clinical and pathological data were retrospectively reviewed. Patients who died during the perioperative period or died of non-recurrence causes were excluded from this study (N = 25). All potential risk factors were analysed using uni- and multi-variate analyses.

Results: Sixty-one recipients of 216 qualified patients suffered from recurrence. Similar recurrence-free and long-term survival rates were observed between living donor liver transplant recipients (N = 60) and deceased donor liver transplant recipients (N = 156). Total tumour volume (TTV) and preoperative percentage of lymphocytes (L%) were two independent risk factors in the multivariate analysis. We propose a prognostic score model based on these two risk factors. Patients within our criteria achieved a similar recurrence-free survival to patients within the Milan criteria. Seventy-one patients who were beyond the Milan criteria but within our criteria also had comparable survival to patients within the Milan criteria.

Conclusions: TTV and L% are two risk factors that contribute to posttransplant recurrence. Selection criteria based on these two factors, which are proposed by our study, expanded the Milan criteria without increasing the risk of posttransplant recurrence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local*
  • Patient Selection*
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Rate
  • Tissue Donors

Grant support

This work was supported by a grant from the National Science and Technology Major Project of China (2012ZX10002-016 and 2012ZX10002-017).The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.