Liver transplantation in the treatment of patients with hepatocelular carcinoma
The aim of the study was to analyse liver transplantation results in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, considering selected factors.
Material and methods. The study group comprised 82 patients subject to liver transplantation at the Department of General, Transplant and Liver Surgery, Warsaw Medical University, due to hepatocellular carcinoma. Retrospective analysis concerned the period between 2001 and 2010. Distant survival results were evaluated, depending on whether Milan criteria were fulfilled, and the preoperative level of alpha-fetoprotein estimated. The obtained results were subject to statistical analysis. p<0.05 was considered as statistically significant.
Results. Mean survival time considering patients subject to liver transplantation, due to hepatocellular carcinoma amounted to 66.7 months (95% PU 58.9-74.4), while survival without tumor recurrence - 62.3 months (95% PU 54-70.6). The one, three and five - year survival rate was 88.7%, 74.8% and 72.0%, respectively. Survival without tumor recurrence was 87.5%, 67.1% and 67.1%, respectively. The overall survival of patients fulfilling the Milan criteria (44 of 82 patients - 53.7%) was significantly longer, in comparison to patients not fulfilling the above-mentioned (74.4 and 48.3 months, respectively, p=0.025). A significant difference was also observed, considering the overall survival in the absence of cancer recurrence (72.5 and 42.4 months, respectively, p=0.007). Considering patients not fulfilling the Milan criteria who presented with preoperative alpha-fetoprotein levels > 100 ng/ml, overall survival was shorter, as compared to the mean survival rate: 32.5 and 64.4 months, respectively, p = 0.009. Similar values were obtained in case of patients without tumor recurrence (27 and 57.1 months, p=0.011).
Conclusions. The obtained results confirmed the significant value of Milan criteria, when qualifying patients with hepatocellular carcinoma for liver transplantation. The above-mentioned also showed the potential value of preoperative alpha-fetoprotein level measurements, not only in the diagnostics and early hepatocellular carcinoma diagnosis (patients with cirrhosis), but also in the prediction of survival and tumor recurrence after liver transplantation.