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Keywords:

  • HCC;
  • loco-regional therapy;
  • MELD score;
  • Milan criteria;
  • recurrence;
  • survival

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents an increasing fraction of liver transplant indications; the role of living donor liver transplant (LDLT) remains unclear. In the Adult-to-Adult Living Donor Liver Transplantation Cohort Study, patients with HCC and an LDLT or deceased donor liver transplant (DDLT) for which at least one potential living donor had been evaluated were compared for recurrence and posttransplant mortality rates. Mortality from date of evaluation of each recipient's first potential living donor was also analyzed. Unadjusted 5-year HCC recurrence was significantly higher after LDLT (38%) than DDLT (11%), (p = 0.0004). After adjustment for tumor characteristics, HCC recurrence remained significantly different between LDLT and DDLT recipients (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.35; p = 0.04) for the overall cohort but not for recipients transplanted following the introduction of MELD prioritization. Five-year posttransplant survival was similar in LDLT and DDLT recipients from time of transplant (HR = 1.32; p = 0.27) and from date of LDLT evaluation (HR = 0.73; p = 0.36). We conclude that the higher recurrence observed after LDLT is likely due to differences in tumor characteristics, pretransplant HCC management and waiting time.