Liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma within the Milan criteria versus the University of California San Francisco criteria: a comparative study

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Abstract

Background

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Currently, liver transplantation (LT) for HCC is the only hope for cure from the tumor and from end-stage liver disease (ESLD). The organ pool shortage in deceased donor LT and the donor-related ethical concerns in living-donor LT necessitate the use of rigorous criteria for LT for HCC. In this respect, two main criteria for LT for HCC were implemented with good outcome, namely, the Milan and the University of California San Francisco criteria. Comparison of the outcome of LT for HCC using either of the two criteria has seldom been reported in the literature.

Patients and methods

Eighty-eight patients underwent LT between August 2003 and end of July 2013 for the presence of pathologically proven pure HCC lesions at our institution. Cases of pediatric LT or liver retransplantation were excluded from this study. Cases with mixed HCC and cholangiocarcinoma were excluded from this study.

Results

Eighty-eight patients underwent LT between August 2003 and July 2013 for the presence of pathologically proven pure HCC lesions at our institution. The mean follow-up duration was 45±30.9 months. HCC recurrence was related significantly to the presence of vascular invasion and degree of differentiation of HCC lesion (P value of 0.0001 and 0.001, respectively).

Conclusion

Patient and tumor free survival did not differ significantly between patients within Milan or University of California San Francisco criteria or beyond both criteria. Vascular invasion and poor differentiation are still the most influential factors for post-transplant long-term outcomes in HCC patients.

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