Liver Transplant for Nonhepatocellular Carcinoma Malignancy

Exp Clin Transplant. 2017 Mar;15(Suppl 2):69-73. doi: 10.6002/ect.TOND16.L18.


Liver transplant is now an acceptable and effective treatment for specific nonhepatocellular malignancies. Worldwide, hilar cholangiocarcinoma accounts for 3% of all primary gastrointestinal malignancies and for 10% of primary hepatobiliary malignancies. For patients who have early-stage, unresectable cholangiocarcinoma, liver transplant preceded by neoadjuvant radiotherapy can result in tumor-free margins, accomplish a radical resection, and treat the underlying primary sclerosing cholangitis when present. Hepatic epithelioid hemangioendothelioma is a rare tumor of vascular origin with a variable malignant potential. Excellent results have been reported with liver transplant for patients with unresectable hepatic epithelioid hemangioendothelioma, with 1-year and 10-year survival rates of 96% and 72%. Hepatoblastoma is the most common primary hepatic malignancy in children. The long-term survival rate after transplant ranges from 66% to 77% in patients with unresectable tumors and good response to chemotherapy. Metastatic liver disease is not an indication for liver transplant, with the exception of cases in which the primary tumor is a neuroendocrine tumor. Indication for liver transplant for hepatic metastasis from neuroendocrine tumors is mainly for patients with unresectable tumors and for palliation of medically uncontrollable symptoms. Posttransplant survival in those patients with low tumor activity index is excellent, despite recurrence of the tumor. Some recent data on liver transplant for unresectable hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer have reported limited survival benefits compared with previous reports. However, due to the high rate of tumor recurrence in a very short time after liver transplant, especially in the era of organ shortage, this indication has not been favored by the transplant community. The indications for liver transplant for nonhepatocellular carcinoma malignancy and its limitations have evolved dramatically over the past decades and will continue to be redefined through future research and investigations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / mortality
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / surgery*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / mortality
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / pathology
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / surgery*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Hemangioendothelioma, Epithelioid / mortality
  • Hemangioendothelioma, Epithelioid / pathology
  • Hemangioendothelioma, Epithelioid / surgery*
  • Hepatoblastoma / mortality
  • Hepatoblastoma / pathology
  • Hepatoblastoma / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Liver Transplantation* / mortality
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome