Survival and prognostic factors for childhood malignant liver tumors: analysis of harmonized clinical data

Cancer Epidemiol. 2021 Feb;70:101850. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2020.101850. Epub 2020 Nov 18.


Background: Despite overall striking advances in survival of childhood liver tumors, outcomes remain poor for specific patient segments. We aimed to assess overall survival (OS) of this rare disease and evaluate the generalizability of prognostic variables included in international collaborative systems using, for the first time, harmonized clinical data from two geographically different cohorts (Greece and Moscow).

Methods: Data for children (0-14 years) with liver tumors were retrieved from two Southern-Eastern European areas (Greece; 2001-2019 and Moscow; 2012-2019). Kaplan-Meier curves were constructed, and OS values were derived from Cox proportional models controlling for study variables.

Results: A total of 171 newly diagnosed cases (54.4% males) were included. The OS5-year exceeded 80% in patients <5 years, reaching 85% among 133 patients with hepatoblastoma (HBL). By contrast, children with other than HBL histology, especially hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) had significantly worse prognosis (hazard ratio [HR] HCC: 7.09, 95% confidence intervals [CI]: 2.56-19.65; HR other liver tumors: 5.18; 95%CI: 2.15-12.49). The OS5-year was poorer (40%-60%) in patients with extensive local, metastatic or relapsed disease. By contrast, a significantly lower risk of death was shown in case of microscopically margin-negative resection (HR: 0.06, 95%CI: 0.02-0.17) and liver transplantation (HR: 0.12, 95% CI: 0.02-0.63) compared to the non- operated group.

Conclusions: Outcomes of patients with liver tumors registered in two SEE areas were comparable to those reported by major collaborative trials. Ongoing clinical cancer registration could facilitate comparison of outcomes between different study groups in order to shape state of the art of treatment.

Keywords: childhood liver tumors; clinical cancer registration; hepatoblastoma; outcome predictors; overall survival.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Prognosis