Department of Surgery, Georgetown University Hospital, Washington DC. Electronic address: JAY.A.GRAHAM@gunet.georgetown.edu.
Whereas some investigators in the surgical field advocate liver resection for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) shows a significant survival advantage. Age was used to stratify survival in these groups to analyze beneficence. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database (1998-2008) was used to identify 2355 patients who underwent either a segmentectomy, lobectomy, or extended lobectomy (resection) and 1873 patients who underwent an OLT for HCC. These patients were further stratified according to age and their relative survival was calculated. As shown in previous studies, the survival advantage is maintained in patients 40 to 59 and 60 to 79 years of age with HCC treated with OLT. However, within the 20 to 39-year-old age group, this advantage is insignificant. In this younger age group, resection patients (n = 157) have a 5-year survival rate of 50.9% whereas the OLT group (n = 40) has a 5-year survival rate of 58.9% (P = .42). Moreover, when assessing patient with lesions within the Milan criteria ages 20 to 39 years, resection shows a slight, although insignificant 4-year survival advantage: 78.2% for resection (n = 56) and 64.4% for OLT (n = 21; P = .283). This data may temper the enthusiasm for OLT in younger patients given the possibility of equivalent treatment with surgical resection.