Liver transplantation and cirrhotomimetic hepatocellular carcinoma: Classification and outcomes

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Liver transplantation has become the standard-of-care treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) that falls within certain size and numerical criteria for patients with cirrhosis. Cirrhotomimetic (CMM) HCC is an uncommon growth pattern that infiltrates cirrhotic parenchyma, can become extensive in size, and can evade detection via radiological studies. Liver transplant outcomes for this type of HCC are not well reported but generally are considered to be poor. We wished to better describe this variant of HCC in explanted livers, derive a classification system for this tumor type, and assess the outcomes of liver transplantation for this tumor variant. All patients undergoing transplantation for HCC at a single center in 1996-2009 (358 patients) were retrospectively analyzed, and 26 patients exhibiting a CMM growth pattern were identified. We developed a classification system for this tumor growth pattern variant and determined patient and tumor-specific outcomes. We derived a classification schema for CMM HCC based on the tumor extent and cellular histopathology, with a clear cell pathology being associated with favorable outcomes. We noted 100.0% 3-year recurrence-free survival and 58.3% 5-year recurrence-free survival after transplantation for those patients with tumors confined to 1 lobe that had a clear cell pathology and 16.2% 3- and 5-year recurrence-free survival for those patients who did not meet these criteria. In conclusion, CMM HCC features were noted in 7% of the patients undergoing transplantation for HCC at our center, with favorable outcomes observed for inpatients with clear cell histology and growth involving less than or equal to 50% of the liver. Liver Transpl 20:765–774, 2014. © 2014 AASLD.

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