Liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma

Julie K. Heimbach

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Liver transplantation has emerged as an optimal treatment for stage I and II hepatocellular carcinoma for patients with underlying cirrhosis as it provides a treatment for the underlying liver disease as well as a reduced incidence of recurrent cancer. The current system of organ allocation in the United States allows an opportunity for liver transplantation for patients with tumor burden within the Milan criteria (a single tumor 2g-5 cm or up to 3 lesions with none >3 cm). Outcomes of patients receiving transplants within these criteria approach outcomes for patients receiving transplants for all indications (85.9%, 74.8%, and 64.1% actuarial survival at 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively, for those with HCC receiving transplants compared with 82%, 73%, and 67% for the entire cohort). Transarterial chemoembolization, radiofrequency ablation, and other pretransplant treatment modalities aimed to slowing tumor growth for patients on a transplant waiting list are commonly used, although the impact on pretransplant disease progression or posttransplant survival remains uncertain. There is continued controversy over expanding patient selection criteria, in particular for those who have undergone downstaging of tumors. In addition, the role of certain immunosuppressive agents such as sirolimus in the reducing HCC recurrence posttransplant remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-99
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008


  • HCC recurrence
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver transplantation
  • MELD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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