Analysis of tumor characteristics and survival in liver transplant recipients with incidentally diagnosed hepatocellular carcinoma.
The use of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLTX) for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has generally become restricted to carefully selected cases of small oligocentric tumors. However, it is not uncommon to find previously undetected HCC within recipient cirrhotic livers at the time of hepatectomy. The impact of unsuspected HCC on patient outcomes remains unclear. A retrospective analysis of our institutional experience with adult primary OLTX was performed comparing recipients with incidental HCC (group 1), recipients with known or suspected HCC (group 2), and recipients confirmed by pathologic examination to be tumor free (group 3). Between 1984 and 2000, 27 patients in group 1, 12 patients in group 2, and 612 patients in group 3 underwent primary OLTX. Tumors were smaller (P = 0.0172) in group 1 than in group 2; however, the number of tumors and the histologic findings were similar in the groups. Incidence of bilobar involvement, vascular invasion, portal vein tumor thrombus, lymphatic involvement, and distant metastasis at the time of OLTX did not differ significantly between these groups. Four-year patient survival appeared to be lower in group 1 (70.0%) than in group 3 (79.0%) (P = 0.0546); 4-year patient survival was significantly worse in group 2 (31.0%) compared to group 3 (P = 0.0106). Thus, in our experience, incidentally diagnosed cases of HCC possess many of the same features of malignancy as preoperatively diagnosed HCC. Indeed, patient survival after OLTX appears to be adversely affected by the presence of incidental HCC.
Cho, CS; Knechtle, SJ; Heisey, DM; Hermina, M; Armbrust, M; D'Alessandro, AM; Musat, AI; Kalayoglu, M
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