Liver transplantation for malignant diseases: Selection and pattern of recurrence

Carlos Margarit, Ramón Charco, Ernest Hidalgo, Helena Allende, Lluis Castells, Itxarone Bilbao

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86 Citations (Scopus)


Liver transplantation (LT) for malignant tumors should be accepted if, with adequate case selection, long-term results are similar to those in patients transplanted for benign diseases. The aim of the present study was to reexamine selection criteria for LT in malignant diseases with particular emphasis on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in cirrhosis. One hundred-three of 369 patients transplanted in our unit had HCC in cirrhosis (28%), 15 of which were incidental tumors, and 234 patients underwent LT for non-cholestatic cirrhosis. Pretransplant arterial chemoembolization (TACE) was performed in 36 cases (41%) of known HCC. Only early, well-delimited tumors in advanced cirrhosis with no extrahepatic disease were accepted for LT. Hepatocellular carcinoma characteristics included mean tumor size (3.1 cm), multiple (59%), bilobular involvement (31%), and vascular invasion (9.2%). Postoperative mortality was 4%. Median follow-up was 67.5 months. Tumor recurrence rate was 14.5%, 33% (5/15) in incidental tumors and 11.4% (10/88) in known HCC and by tumor stage (pTNM): 7.7% (1/13) in stage I, 16.7% (5/30) in stage II, 15% (3/20) in stage III, and 17% (6/35) in stage IV. Mean time for recurrence was 20.6 months. Tumoral vascular invasion, tumor differentiation, and satellite tumors were significant factors for tumor recurrence in univariate analysis, whereas tumor vascular invasion was the only significant factor for tumor recurrence in multivariate analysis. Actuarial survival rates at 1, 3, and 5 years were 81%, 66%, 58%, respectively, in patients with HCC and were similar to those of cirrhotic patients 76%, 67%, 63%, respectively. In conclusion, patients with early HCC in cirrhosis are good candidates for LT; results are similar when compared with those of cirrhotic patients without tumor. Liver transplantation for other malignancies is admitted only in fibrolamellar hepatoma, hepatoblastoma, epithelioid hemangioendothelioma without extrahepatic disease, and in metastases from carcinoid tumors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-263
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2002


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