Liver Transplantation for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Validation of the UCSF-Expanded Criteria Based on Preoperative Imaging


  • Part of this work was presented in a plenary session of the 57th annual AASLD meeting, Boston, MA, October 29, 2006 (Hepatology 2006;44 (Suppl 1):191A).

* Corresponding author: Francis Y. Yao,


We previously suggested that in patients with heptocellular carcinoma (HCC), the conventional Milan criteria (T1/T2) for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) could be modestly expanded based on pathology (UCSF criteria). The present study was undertaken to prospectively validate the UCSF criteria based on pretransplant imaging. Over a 5-year period, the UCSF criteria were used as selection guidelines for OLT in 168 patients, including 38 patients exceeding Milan but meeting UCSF criteria (T3A). The 1- and 5-year recurrence-free probabilities were 95.9% and 90.9%, and the respective survivals without recurrence were 92.1% and 80.7%. Patients with preoperative T1/T2 HCC had 1- and 5-year recurrence-free probabilities of 95.7% and 90.1%, respectively, versus 96.9% and 93.6%, respectively, for preoperative T3A stage (p = 0.58). Under-staging was observed in 20% of T2 and 29% of T3A HCC (p = 0.26). When explant tumor exceeded UCSF criteria (15%), the 1- and 5-year recurrence-free probabilities were 80.4% and 59.5%, versus 98.6% and 96.7%, respectively, for those within UCSF criteria (p < 0.0001). In conclusion, our results validated the ability of the UCSF criteria to discriminate prognosis after OLT and to serve as selection criteria for OLT, with a similar risk of tumor recurrence and under-staging when compared to the Milan criteria.