Three-dimensional tumor volume and serum alpha-fetoprotein are predictors of hepatocellular carcinoma recurrence after liver transplantation: refined selection criteria

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Total tumor volume (TTV), as a better predictor of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence after liver transplant, has been explored by our center. Some tumors are not typically spherical but rather ellipsoid or spheroid, and calculating their TTV based on one dimension only may overestimate their volume and exclude them from candidacy for transplantation. Our aim was to study the actual tumor volume (ATV) calculated using the ellipsoid formula and assess its impact on recurrence. HCC patients transplanted between 1990 and 2010 at University of Alberta Hospital were analyzed. Tumor volumes were calculated using both formulas: [(4/3) πr3] (r = max. radius) and [(4/3) πabc] (a, b, c = the 3 radiuses). A total of 115 patients were included with a mean follow-up of 4.99 ± 4.23 yr. Five-yr recurrence-free survival was 79.8%. Univariate analysis for predictors of recurrence included: maximum tumor diameter, ATV, TTV, and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) ≥ 400 ng/mL. Multivariate analysis showed that ATV and AFP ≥ 400 ng/mL were the only predictors of recurrence. Combining both variables provides better predication of recurrence with accuracy that exceeds 80%. Three-dimensional calculation of tumor volume is of critical importance for the group of patients with ellipsoid tumors where volumes are overestimated with the spherical formula and could lead to inappropriate exclusion from transplant.

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