Prognostic Role of Lymph Node Sampling in Adolescent and Young Adults With Fibrolamellar Carcinoma

J Surg Res. 2022 Aug:276:261-271. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2022.03.006. Epub 2022 Apr 7.


Introduction: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is rare among adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients, and resection or transplant remains the only curative therapy. The role of lymph node (LN) sampling is not well-defined. The aim of this study was to describe practice patterns, as well as investigate the impact of LN sampling on survival outcomes in this population.

Materials and methods: A retrospective cohort study using the 2004-2018 National Cancer Database (NCDB) was performed. Patients ≤21 y old with nonmetastatic HCC who underwent liver resection or transplant were evaluated. Clinical features of patients who underwent LN sampling were compared to those who did not, and univariable and multivariable logistic regression was performed to evaluate independent predictive factors of node positivity. Survival analysis was performed using Kaplan-Meier methods and Cox Proportional Hazard Survival Regression.

Results: A total of 262 AYA patients with HCC were identified, of whom 137 (52%) underwent LN sampling, 44 patients had positive nodes, 40 (95%) of them had tumors >5 cm; 87 (64%) of patients with sampled nodes had fibrolamellar carcinoma (FLC), which was an independent risk factor for predicting positive nodes (P = 0.001). There was no difference in overall survival between patients who underwent LN sampling and those who did not; however, 5-y overall survival for node-positive patients was 40% versus 79% for node-negative patients (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: In AYA patients with HCC, LN sampling was not associated with an independent survival benefit. However, FLC was an independent risk factor for LN positivity, suggesting a role for routine LN sampling in these patients.

Keywords: Adolescent and young adult; Fibrolamellar carcinoma; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Lymph node sampling; Lymphadenectomy; Pediatric.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymph Nodes / surgery
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma