Feasibility and outcomes of percutaneous thermal ablation of hepatocellular carcinoma in a transplanted allograft

Brian T. Welch, J. J. Schmitz, A. N. Kurup, T. D. Atwell, M. R. Callstrom, G. Frey, R. Paz-Fumagalli, A. Allen, K. Watt, J. Heimbach, G. D. Schmit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine the safety, feasibility, and oncologic control following percutaneous image-guided thermal ablation of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in a transplanted allograft. Materials and Methods: Retrospective review was performed to identify patients who underwent liver transplantation for HCC and subsequently underwent percutaneous hepatic thermal ablation for recurrent HCC within the allograft between January 1st, 2000-September 1st, 2016. Eleven patients with hepatic allograft HCC underwent twelve percutaneous thermal ablation procedures to treat 16 lesions. Patient, procedural characteristics, and local oncologic efficacy were reviewed. Complications were characterized via the Common Terminology for Clinically Adverse Events nomenclature [CTCAE] v4.03). Results: Eleven transplant recipients underwent treatment of 16 HCC tumors in their allografts during 12 ablation sessions. Mean follow-up time was 25 months (range 2–96 months). Local oncologic control was achieved in 10 of 11 tumors (91%) with imaging follow-up. One patient (8%) with Roux-en-Y biliary reconstruction developed a major complication with hepatic abscess. Conclusion: Thermal ablation of recurrent HCC in transplanted allografts can be accomplished safely with acceptable rates of local control for patients with duct-to-duct biliary reconstruction. Due to the high number of patients deemed surgically unresectable, the morbidity of surgical resection, the side effects of targeted therapies, and significant mortality associated with recurrences in the transplanted allograft, patients may benefit from percutaneous thermal ablative treatments. Further study is needed to assess the role of thermal ablation in allograft HCC recurrences as primary therapy or in a multimodality approach with emerging systemic therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1478-1481
Number of pages4
JournalAbdominal Radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Hepatic allograft
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Percutaneous ablation
  • Thermal ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology


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