Liver Transplantation for Pediatric Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Systematic Review

Cancers (Basel). 2022 Mar 2;14(5):1294. doi: 10.3390/cancers14051294.


Liver transplantation (LT) is the only potentially curative option for children with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We performed a systematic review of the MEDLINE, Scopus, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science databases (end-of-search date: 31 July 2020). Our outcomes were overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS). We evaluated the effect of clinically relevant variables on outcomes using the Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test. Sixty-seven studies reporting on 245 children undergoing LT for HCC were included. DFS data were available for 150 patients and the 1-, 3-, and 5-year DFS rates were 92.3%, 89.1%, and 84.5%, respectively. Sixty of the two hundred and thirty-eight patients (25.2%) died over a mean follow up of 46.8 ± 47.4 months. OS data were available for 222 patients and the 1-, 3-, and 5-year OS rates were 87.9%, 78.8%, and 74.3%, respectively. Although no difference was observed between children transplanted within vs. beyond Milan criteria (p = 0.15), superior OS was observed in children transplanted within vs. beyond UCSF criteria (p = 0.02). LT can yield favorable outcomes for pediatric HCC beyond Milan but not beyond UCSF criteria. Further research is required to determine appropriate LT selection criteria for pediatric HCC.

Keywords: HCC; Milan criteria; fibrolamellar; hepatocellular carcinoma; hepatoma; liver transplantation; living donor; pediatric.

Publication types

  • Review