Primary hepatocellular cancer in the explanted liver: Outcome of transplantation and risk factors for HCC recurrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • L Kondili
  • A Lala
  • Bridget Gunson
  • S Olliff
  • Elwyn Elias


AIM: To evaluate the risk of recurrence of hepatocellular cancer (HCC) after liver transplantation (LT). METHODS: The clinical records of 104 patients with HCC in the explanted liver were examined. RESULTS: HCC recurrence occurred in 12 patients. Recurrence was observed in all patients with a single nodule greater than 5 cm. Among the 5 patients with more than 3 tumours with a maximum diameter of 4.5 cm, no recurrence occurred. The survival rates were 81% and 64% at 1 and 5 years, respectively; the recurrence-free survival at 1 and 5 years was, respectively, 93% and 82%. Pre-LT alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) increased at a greater magnitude in patients who experienced recurrence, compared to those who did not. Tumour diameter, differentiation, satellitosis, AFP and the magnitude of AFP increase were predictive of recurrence. The 1- and 5-year recurrence-free survival for the 68 patients who had a single nodule up to 5 cm, or up to 3 nodules all less than 4.5 cm and with a maximum cumulative diameter of 8 cm, or more than 3 nodules all less than 2.5 cm, were 95% and 92%, respectively. For the 13 patients not meeting these criteria, the 1- and 5-year recurrence-free survival was, respectively, 75% and 54% (log Rank test p=0.019). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with more than 3 small HCC nodules before LT could still have a good outcome without recurrence. A rapid increase in AFP could be useful in identifying patients with a greater risk of post-LT HCC recurrence.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)868-873
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology (EJSO)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2007

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