Salvage Liver Transplant in the Treatment of a Child With Local Recurrence of Hepatoblastoma

Exp Clin Transplant. 2022 May;20(Suppl 3):62-65. doi: 10.6002/ect.PediatricSymp2022.O21.


Hepatoblastoma is the most common primary liver cancer of childhood, accounting for two-thirds of primary malignant hepatic neoplasms. Radical surgical removal combined with efficient chemotherapy is essential for cure. Despite a complete tumor resection, hepatoblastoma may recur as isolated local disease. Intrahepatic recurrence of hepatoblastoma after liver resection is among the indications for liver transplant. Here, we present a patient who underwent salvage liver transplant for the treatment of local recurrence of hepatoblastoma. A 13-year-old boy who was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma arising from the left liver lobe and who had been treated with surgical resection was admitted to our outpatient oncology clinic for further evaluation because alpha-fetoprotein levels had started to increase after surgery. Histopathological reexamination of hemihepatectomy material showed a histological aspect of an epithelial hepatoblastoma. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed multifocal lesions in the right liver lobe compatible with local recurrence. Despite a favorable initial response to chemotherapy, the tumor showed progression with increased alpha-fetoprotein levels. The patient was deemed a viable candidate for an urgent liver transplant and underwent right lobe living donor liver transplant. He had excellent graft function without any complications or signs of malignancy in the last follow-up visit at 7 months posttransplant. Salvage liver transplant is a lifesaving and sometimes the only treatment option for patients with local recurrence of hepatoblastoma. Although transplant in the salvage setting has been associated with worse outcomes than primary transplant, recent data have indicated more favorable and acceptable outcomes. Further studies are warranted to better understand the role of salvage liver transplant in the treatment of hepatoblastoma. Early consultation with the liver transplant team is critical in children who are most likely to need extreme resection or liver transplant.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Hepatoblastoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Hepatoblastoma* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Liver Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Liver Transplantation* / methods
  • Living Donors
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Treatment Outcome
  • alpha-Fetoproteins


  • alpha-Fetoproteins