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21 September 2018 : Original article  

Clinical Features and Surveillance of Very Late Hepatocellular Carcinoma Recurrence After Liver Transplantation

Abdulwahab A. Alshahrani1BCE, Su-Min Ha1BCE, Shin Hwang1ABCDEFG*, Chul-Soo Ahn1BCD, Ki-Hun Kim1BCD, Deok-Bog Moon1BCD, Tae-Yong Ha1BCD, Gi-Won Song1BCD, Dong-Hwan Jung1BCD, Gil-Chun Park1BCD, Hwi-Dong Cho1BC, Jae Hyun Kwon1BC, Sang-Hyun Kang1BC, Sung-Gyu Lee1ACD

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.910598

Ann Transplant 2018; 23:659-665


BACKGROUND: This study aimed to assess patterns of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence after liver transplantation (LT) and to establish long-term surveillance protocols for late HCC recurrence.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The 232 LT recipients experiencing subsequent HCC recurrence were categorized as Group 1, early recurrence (within 1 year of LT; n=117); Group 2, late recurrence (occurring in years 2–5; n=93); and Group 3, very late recurrence (after year 5; n=22).

RESULTS: Recurrence was detected by only elevated tumor marker levels in 11.1%, 30.1%, and 45.5% of patients in Groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively (p<0.001). The proportion of intrahepatic and extrahepatic metastases was similar in all 3 groups. Common sites of extrahepatic metastasis were the lung and bone; these were also similar across the 3 groups. Overall post-recurrence patient survival rates were 60.2% at 1 year, 28.2% at 3 years, 20.5% at 5 years, and 7.0% at 10 years. Median post-recurrence survival periods were 10.2, 23.8, and 37.0 months in Groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: While the pattern of HCC recurrence was similar regardless of time of recurrence, post-recurrence survival was significantly longer in patients with later recurrence. Long-term surveillance for HCC recurrence beyond 5 years after LT is recommended.

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