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Eur J Cancer. 2005 May;41(7):1031-6.

Guidelines for surgical treatment of hepatoblastoma in the modern era--recommendations from the Childhood Liver Tumour Strategy Group of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOPEL).

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  • 1Department of Paediatric Surgery, Medical University of Gdansk, ul. Nowe Ogrody 1-6, Gdansk 80-803, Poland.


Cisplatin-containing chemotherapy and complete surgical resection are both crucial in the cure of hepatoblastoma. Radical resection can be obtained either conventionally by partial hepatectomy or with orthotopic liver transplant, but the surgical approach to hepatoblastoma differs considerably across the world. Our main aim in this paper is to present the surgical recommendations of the Childhood Liver Tumour Strategy Group of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOPEL), as well as to stimulate international debate on this issue. We discuss biopsy, verification of resectability, resection principles, indications and potential contraindications for orthotopic liver transplant, as well as thoracic surgery for pulmonary metastases. We suggest that heroic liver resections with a high probability of leaving residual tumour should be avoided whenever possible. In such cases primary orthotopic liver transplant should be considered. Superior survival rates in hepatoblastoma patients who have received a primary transplant after a good response to chemotherapy support the strategy of avoiding partial hepatectomy in cases where radical resection appears difficult and doubtful. We recommend early referral to a transplant surgeon in cases of: (i) multifocal or large solitary PRETEXT IV (PRE Treatment EXTent of disease scoring system) hepatoblastoma involving all four sectors of the liver and (ii) unifocal, centrally located tumours involving main hilar structures or main hepatic veins. Because complete tumour resection is a prerequisite for cure, any strategy leading to an increased resection rate will result in improved survival. We advise the more frequent use of orthotopic liver transplant, as well as the standardisation of techniques for partial liver resection. These guidelines should not be seen as final, but rather as a starting point for further discussion between the various national and international liver tumour study groups.

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