Scientific publications

Liver transplantation in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma across Milan criteria

Mar 1, 2008 | Magazine: Liver Transplantation

J. Ignacio Herrero (1), Bruno Sangro (1), Fernando Pardo (2), Jorge Quiroga (1), Mercedes Iñarrairaegui (1), Fernando Rotellar (2), Custodia Montiel (2), Felix Alegre (1), Jesus Prieto (1)

Milan criteria are the most frequently used limits for liver transplantation (LT) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but our previous experience with expanded criteria showed encouraging results. The aim of this study was to investigate whether our expanded Clinica Universitaria de Navarra (CUN) criteria (1 nodule up to 6 cm or 2-3 nodules up to 5 cm each) could be used to select patients with HCC for LT. Eighty-five patients with HCC fulfilling CUN criteria were included as candidates for LT.

Survival of transplanted HCC patients was compared with survival of patients without HCC (n = 180). After the exclusion of 2 patients with tumor seeding of the chest wall due to pre-LT tumor biopsy, survival and recurrence rates were compared according to tumor staging. Twenty-six out of 85 (30%) patients exceeded Milan criteria. Twelve patients had tumor progression on the waiting list. Patients exceeding Milan criteria had a higher dropout rate due to tumoral progression. One-, 3-, 5-, 7-, and 10-year survival rates of the 73 transplanted HCC patients were 86%, 74%, 70%, 61%, and 50%, respectively. Survival of patients with HCC was significantly lower than that of patients without HCC, but by multivariate analysis, HCC was not associated with lower survival. Tumor recurrence and survival rates were similar for patients fulfilling Milan and CUN criteria.

Pathological staging showed 55 patients within Milan criteria, 7 patients exceeding them but within CUN criteria, and 9 patients exceeding CUN criteria. Tumor recurrence rates were 2/55 (4%), 0/7 (0%), and 4/9 (44%) in each of these groups, respectively.

In conclusion, following CUN criteria could increase the number of HCC patients who could benefit from LT, without worsening the results. Because of the short number of patients in this series, these data need external validation.

CITATION Liver Transpl. 2008 Mar;14(3):272-8