Liver transplantation versus supraselective transarterial chemoembolization in palliative patients with hepatocellular carcinoma exceeding the Milan Criteria – is it time for a more individual approach?
Hauke Sebastian Heinzow, Jens G. Brockmann, Michael Köhler, Heiner H. Wolters, Norbert Senninger, Hartmut Schmidt, Tobias Meister
Department of Medicine B, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany
Ann Transplant 2013; 18:515-524
This study evaluated the effect of liver transplantation (LTX) and STACE on overall survival in palliative patients with HCC exceeding Milan criteria.
Material and Methods: At a single center 63 HCC patients exceeding Milan criteria were retrospectively analyzed. Forty patients underwent STACE as palliative therapy modality and 23 palliative patients were scheduled for LTX. The primary endpoint was overall patient survival. Statistical analysis included Kaplan-Meier method, log rank, chi squared tests and Cox regression model for the identification of prognostic factors.
Results: There was no significant difference when comparing the 2 groups (LTX vs. no LTX) in terms of Child classification, co-morbidities, underlying disease, and sex. Overall survival was significantly prolonged after LTX was performed (p=0.012). In the Cox regression model, LTX (p=0.021), LTX <3Mo (p=0.047), CHILD stage (p=0.007), AFP (p=0.020), and tumor size of largest HCC nodule <40 mm (p=0.028) were independent prognostic factors for survival.
Conclusions: Palliative patients beyond Milan have a significant survival benefit after they received early liver transplantation in comparison with STACE. The current approach to waiting list candidacy based on Milan criteria should be modified with a more individualized approach that considers age, AFP level, and tumor size.
Keywords: liver transplantation, advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, transarterial chemoembolization, Milan criteria, Palliative Care