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30 June 2015 : Original article  

Misdiagnosed or Incidentally Detected Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Explanted Livers: Lessons Learned

Mohamed Rabei AbdelfattahABCDEF, Faisal AbaalkhailB, Hadeel Al-ManeaB

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.893782

Ann Transplant 2015; 20:366-372


BACKGROUND: Misdiagnosed or incidentally detected hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in liver explant is an undesirable surprise that might pose a medical challenge in the post-transplant setting.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: From May 2001 to the end of December 2013, 463 and 137 liver transplants for adult and pediatric patients, respectively, were performed at our center. Ten cases were found to have misdiagnosed or incidental malignant lesions on pathological examination of the explant.

RESULTS: We considered 105 patients for LT because of presence of HCC; 102 patients were accurately diagnosed by pretransplant imaging and the other 3 patients were misdiagnosed as HCC and then found to have mixed HCC-cholangiocarcinoma (CC) (2.9% misdiagnosis rate). Seven more patients were found to have i-HCC in explanted livers. Therefore, 109 patients were transplanted for presence of HCC (6.5% of them diagnosed incidentally). The overall rate of incidental HCC (i-HCC) among all liver explants was 1.2%. In the adult group no subjects had HCC recurrence, while only 1 subject had HCC recurrence in the pediatric group. All mixed HCC-CC lesions were found in adult patients. Two patients died from recurrence of cholangiocarcinoma after liver transplant. The other patient is still surviving with no recurrence at 13-month follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: Misdiagnosed or incidental malignancy is a rare but reported finding following liver transplantation. Their preoperative suspicion is quite challenging. A thorough explant pathology study is needed to diagnose this condition. It is evident that the outcome of this undesirable finding was judged mainly by tumor biology.

Keywords: Cholangiocarcinoma, Liver Transplantation

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Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358
Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358