Salvage liver transplantation or repeat hepatectomy for recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma: An intent-to-treat analysis

Liver Transpl. 2017 Dec;23(12):1553-1563. doi: 10.1002/lt.24952.


The salvage liver transplantation (LT) strategy was conceived for initially resectable and transplantable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to obviate upfront transplantation, with salvage LT in the case of recurrence. The longterm outcomes of a second resection for recurrent HCC have improved. The aim of this study was to perform an intention-to-treat analysis of overall survival (OS) comparing these 2 strategies for initially resectable and transplantable recurrent HCC. From 1994 to 2011, 391 patients with HCC who underwent salvage LT (n = 77) or a second resection (n = 314) were analyzed. Of 77 patients in the salvage LT group, 21 presented with resectable and transplantable recurrent HCC and 18 underwent transplantation. Of 314 patients in the second resection group, 81 presented with resectable and transplantable recurrent HCC and 81 underwent a second resection. The 5-year intention-to-treat OS rates, calculated from the time of primary hepatectomy, were comparable between the 2 strategies (72% for salvage transplantation versus 77% for second resection; P = 0.57). In patients who completed the salvage LT or second resection procedure, the 5-year OS rates, calculated from the time of the second surgery, were comparable between the 2 strategies (71% versus 71%; P = 0.99). The 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) rates were 72% following transplantation and 18% following the second resection (P < 0.001). Similar results were observed after propensity score matching. In conclusion, although the 5-year OS rates were similar in the salvage LT and second resection groups, the salvage LT strategy still achieves better DFS. Second resection for recurrent HCC might be considered to be the best alternative option to LT in the current organ shortage. Liver Transplantation 23 1553-1563 2017 AASLD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / complications
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatectomy / methods
  • Hepatectomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis / surgery*
  • Liver Neoplasms / complications
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation / methods
  • Liver Transplantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery*
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Salvage Therapy / methods
  • Salvage Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome