OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a liver transplantation (LT) program on the outcomes of resectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Surgical treatment of HCC includes both hepatic resection (HR) and LT. However, the presence of cirrhosis and the possibility of recurrence make the management of this disease complex and probably different according to the presence of a LT program.
METHODS: Patients undergoing HR for HCC between January 2005 and December 2019 were identified from a national database of HCC. The main study outcomes were major surgical complications according to the Comprehensive Complication Index (CCI), post-hepatectomy liver failure (PHLF), 90-day mortality, overall survival (OS), and disease-free survival (DFS). Secondary outcomes were salvage liver transplantation (SLT) and post-recurrence survival (PRS).
RESULTS: A total of 3202 patients were included from 25 hospitals over the study period. Three out of 25 (12%) had a LT program. The presence of a LT program within a center was associated with a reduced probability of PHLF (OR=0.38) but not with OS and DFS. There was an increased probability of SLT when HR was performed in a transplant hospital (OR=12.05). Among transplant-eligible patients, those who underwent LT had a significantly longer PRS.
CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that the presence of a LT program was associated with decreased PHLF rates and an increased probability to receive SLT in case of recurrence.