Survival after liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma in the model for end-stage liver disease and pre–model for end-stage liver disease eras and the independent impact of hepatitis C virus

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Abstract

It has been suggested that hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) may have worse outcomes after liver transplantation (LT) because of more aggressive tumor biology. In this study, we determined the post-LT survival of HCC patients with and without HCV using United Network for Organ Sharing data from January 1994 to March 2008. Patients with HCC were stratified into HCV (HCC-HCV) and non-HCV (HCC–non-HCV) groups. In the era before the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD), there were 1237 HCC patients (780, HCV; 373, non-HCV; 84, unknown HCV status), and during the MELD era, there were 4933 HCC patients (3272, HCV; 1348, non-HCV; 313, unknown). In the pre-MELD era, 5-year graft (58.6% versus 53.7%) and patient (61.7% versus 59.3%) survival rates were marginally higher for HCC–non-HCV patients than for HCC-HCV patients. In the MELD era also, 5-year graft (61.2% versus 55.5%) and patient (63.7% versus 58.2%) survival rates were marginally higher for HCC–non-HCV patients than for HCC-HCV patients. In patients without HCC, pre-MELD and MELD era graft/patient survival rates for non-HCV patients were higher than those for HCV patients. The differences in survival rates for HCC patients with and without HCV were lower than those for non-HCC patients stratified by their HCV status. HCV had no additional negative impact on the post-LT survival of patients with HCC, and this was further confirmed by multivariate analysis. In conclusion, the survival of HCC patients has remained unchanged in the past 2 decades. HCV patients have a lower survival rate than non-HCV patients, regardless of their HCC status, but HCV has no additional negative impact on survival in patients with HCC. Liver Transpl 15:754–762, 2009. © 2009 AASLD.

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