Author(s): Agopian VG, HarlanderLocke M, Zarrinpar A, Kaldas FM, Farmer DG,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Although radiologic size criteria (Milan/University of California, San Francisco [UCSF]) have led to improved outcomes after liver transplantation (LT) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), recurrence remains a significant challenge. We analyzed our 30-year experience with LT for HCC to identify predictors of recurrence. STUDY DESIGN: A novel clinicopathologic risk score and prognostic nomogram predicting post-transplant HCC recurrence was developed from a multivariate competing-risk Cox regression analysis of 865 LT recipients with HCC between 1984 and 2013. RESULTS: Overall patient and recurrence-free survivals were 83\%, 68\%, 60\% and 79\%, 63\%, and 56\% at 1-, 3-, and 5-years, respectively. Hepatocellular carcinoma recurred in 117 recipients, with a median time to recurrence of 15 months, involving the lungs (59\%), abdomen/pelvis (38\%), liver (35\%), bone (28\%), pleura/mediastinum (12\%), and brain (5\%). Multivariate predictors of recurrence included tumor grade/differentiation (G4/poor diff hazard ratio [HR] 8.86; G2-3/mod-poor diff HR 2.56), macrovascular (HR 7.82) and microvascular (HR 2.42) invasion, nondownstaged tumors outside Milan criteria (HR 3.02), nonincidental tumors with radiographic maximum diameter ≥ 5 cm (HR 2.71) and <5 cm (HR 1.55), and pretransplant neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (HR 1.77 per log unit), maximum alpha fetoprotein (HR 1.21 per log unit), and total cholesterol (HR 1.14 per SD). A pretransplantation model incorporating only known radiographic and laboratory parameters had improved accuracy in predicting HCC recurrence (C statistic 0.79) compared with both Milan (C statistic 0.64) and UCSF (C statistic 0.64) criteria alone. A novel clinicopathologic prognostic nomogram included explant pathology and had an excellent ability to predict post-transplant recurrence (C statistic 0.85). CONCLUSIONS: In the largest single-institution experience with LT for HCC, excellent long-term survival was achieved. Incorporation of routine pretransplantation biomarkers to existing radiographic size criteria significantly improves the ability to predict post-transplant recurrence, and should be considered in recipient selection. A novel clinicopathologic prognostic nomogram accurately predicts HCC recurrence after LT and may guide frequency of post-transplantation surveillance and adjuvant therapy. Copyright © 2015 American College of Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Am Coll Surg
and referenced in Journal of Clinical and Experimental Transplantation