Poorer survival in patients whose explanted hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) exceeds Milan or UCSF Criteria. An analysis of liver transplantation in HCC in Australia and New Zealand


John Chen, South Australian Liver Transplant Unit, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia. Tel: +61 8 8204 5213. Fax: +61 8 8204 5843. E-mail: john.chen@flinders.edu.au


Background:  Milan and University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Criteria have been used for selection of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) for liver transplantation (LTx). The aims of this study were to analyse the results of LTx for HCC in Australia and New Zealand with emphasis on the effects of discordance between pre-LTx radiological and post-LTx pathological staging.

Methods:  A total of 186 LTx for HCC carried out between July 1985 and August 2003 were included. Patients were categorized according to the Milan and UCSF Criteria.

Results:  The median follow-up was 6.55 years (range 2.96–20.93 years). Pre-LTx factors associated with better survival include tumour size ≤5 cm, number of tumours ≤3, staging within Milan and UCSF Criteria and more recent transplantation (1996–2003). In all, 14 patients had a pre-LTx stage outside the Milan but within the UCSF Criteria. One- and 5-year patient survival rates were, respectively, 88% and 74% within the Milan Criteria, and 87% and 73% within the UCSF Criteria. Vascular invasion, capsular invasion, lymph node invasion and pathological stage outside UCSF Criteria were associated with poor outcome. Of patients within the Milan and UCSF Criteria pre-LTx, 24% and 18%, respectively, were outside the same criteria post-LTx. These patients had poorer survival rates.

Conclusions:  The use of the UCSF Criteria in this cohort increased the number of patients eligible for LTx without compromising 5-year survival rates. Patients whose explant tumours were outside the Milan or UCSF Criteria had poorer outcomes compared with those whose explants remained within these criteria.