Institute of Liver Transplantation, General Hospital of Chinese People's Armed Police Force, Beijing, China.
A precise predictive survival model of liver transplantation (LT) with antiviral prophylaxis for hepatitis B virus (HBV)-associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cirrhosis has not been established. The aim of our study was to identify predictors of outcome after LT in these patients based on tumor staging systems, antitumor therapy pre-LT, and antiviral prophylaxis in patients considered to be unfit by Milan or UCSF criteria.
From 2002 to 2008, 917 LTs with antiviral prophylaxis were performed on patients with HBV-cirrhosis, and 313 had concurrent HCC.
Stratified univariate and multivariate analyses demonstrated that independent predictors for poor survival were tumor size >7.5 cm (P = 0.001), tumor number >1 (P = 0.005), vascular invasion (P = 0.001), pre-LT serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) level ≥1000 ng/ml (P = 0.009), and pre-LT aspartate aminotransferase (AST) level ≥120 IU/L (P = 0.044). Pre-LT therapy for HCC was an independent predictor of better survival (P = 0.028). Based on CLIP and TNM tumor staging systems, HCC patients with HBV-cirrhosis who met the following criteria: solitary tumor ≤7.5 cm, or ≤4 multifocal nodules, the largest lesion ≤5 cm and total tumor diameter ≤10 cm, or more nodules with the largest lesion ≤3 cm, and pre-LT serum AFP level <1000 µg/L and AST level <120 IU/L without vascular invasion and lymph node metastasis who were unfit for UCSF, had survival rates of 89% at 5 years. There was a 47% 5-year survival rate for patients with HCC exceeding the revised criteria.
The current criteria for LT based on tumor size, number and levels of AFP and AST may be modestly expanded while still preserving excellent survival after LT. The expanded criteria combined with antiviral prophylaxis and pre-LT adjuvant therapy for HCC may be a rational strategy to prolong survival after LT for HCC patients with HBV-associated cirrhosis.