Background/Aims: In patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) exceeding the Milan criteria, the recurrence rate after liver transplantation is over 50%. We investigated pretransplant factor(s) that could predict recurrence after living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) in patients with HCC exceeding the Milan criteria.
Methods: Pre-operative imaging showed that, of the 111 HCC patients who underwent LDLT between June 1995 and January 2006, 37 exceeded the Milan criteria. Clinical factors before LDLT were evaluated.
Results: The 1- and 3-year cumulative recurrence rates were 35 and 55% respectively. Pretransplant risk factors for HCC recurrence were large tumour size (>6 cm, P=0.001), tumour exposed to the liver surface (P=0.014) and progressive disease after pretransplant treatment (P=0.038). The 2-year HCC recurrence rates in patients with 0, 1, 2 and 3 factors were 0% (0/4), 9% (1/16), 80% (8/10) and 100% (7/7) respectively (P<0.001). The 2-year survival rate was significantly higher in patients with 0 or 1 factor than in patients with two or more factors (P=0.022).
Conclusions: In patients with HCC exceeding the Milan criteria, the three pretransplant factors that may be useful for identifying those with high HCC recurrence potential after LDLT are tumour size >6 cm, progressive disease after pretransplant treatment and tumour exposed to the liver surface.