Division of Hepatobiliary Surgery and Liver Transplantation, Department of Surgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 388-1 Pungnap-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, 138-736, Korea, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liver transplantation (LT) may be the best curative treatment that offers a chance of cure for the tumor and the underlying cirrhosis by complete extirpation of both. In Asia, where the supply of cadaveric grafts remains scarce and the incidence of HCC combined with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV)- and hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related liver disease is high, adult living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) has been settled upon as a practical alternative to deceased-donor liver transplantation (DDLT). Even in Western countries, where adequate access to DDLT is feasible for HCC patients satisfying the Milan criteria, the necessity for LDLT is well established in particular for more advanced HCC patients who are disadvantaged by current allocation algorithms for grafts from deceased donors due to organ shortage, increasing waiting lists, and the expectation that many patients listed for LT will die while awaiting a suitable organ. In the field of LDLT in Asia, numerous technical innovations were achieved to secure donor safety, as well as to ensure patient survival. The experience with LDLT for HCC has been progressively increasing in many Asian countries to date. Although there are questions regarding the higher recurrence of HCC after LDLT than after DDLT, the application of the Milan and UCSF criteria to LDLT in high-volume multicenter cohorts from Japan and Korea has resulted in patient survival outcomes very similar to those following DDLT. Recently, inclusion of biologic tumor markers such as alpha fetoprotein (AFP), protein induced by vitamin K antagonist II (PIVKA II), and positive positron emission tomography (PET) in addition to parameters of tumor morphology might be the key to establishing the best criteria for LDLT for HCC. As pretransplant treatments, most LDLT centers in Asia cannot adopt the strategy of bridging therapy under scarcity of cadaveric organ donation but have to use those multi-modality treatments as a salvage intending for primary curative treatment or a downstaging therapy before LDLT. After LDLT, basically there is no difference in the management strategy for HCC recurrence between DDLD and LDLT.