Source Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System and University of Washington, Seattle, WA Research Enhancement Award Program, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA.
We aimed to estimate the survival benefit derived from transplantation in patients with stage II hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and Child's A cirrhosis, defined as the mean lifetime with transplantation minus the mean lifetime with treatments other than transplantation. We calculated the posttransplantation survival of all adult, first-time, deceased-donor, liver transplant recipients in the United States since the introduction of the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease based priority system in February 2002 (n = 36 791). We estimated the posttreatment survival of patients with Child's A cirrhosis and stage II HCC treated by radiofrequency ablation (RFA) ± transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) or surgical resection by conducting a systematic review of the medical literature. In patients with Child's A cirrhosis and stage II HCC, the estimated median survival benefit of liver transplantation compared to RFA ± TACE was 1.5 months at 3 years (range -3.5 to 5.6) and 5.7 months at 5 years (range 0.7-11.4), whereas compared to surgical resection it was 0.7 months at 3 years (range -2.9 to 3) and 2.8 months at 5 years (range -4.4 to 5.7). Liver transplantation in patients with stage II HCC and Child's A cirrhosis results in a very low survival benefit and may not constitute optimal use of scarce liver donor organs.