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J Hepatol. 1998 Mar;28(3):497-503.

Preoperative TNM-classification is a better prognostic indicator for recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma after liver transplantation than albumin mRNA in peripheral blood. Liver Transplant Oncology Group.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Vienna, Austria. m.peck@magnet.at

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIM:

Survival after orthotopic liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma is limited by a high rate of tumor recurrence. A polymerase chain reaction assay based on the detection of albumin mRNA expression in peripheral blood for detection of hematogenous micrometastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma has been described, which may help to select candidates for orthotopic liver transplantation.

METHODS:

The prognostic value of a highly sensitive nested reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assay was evaluated in comparison with the TNM-classification of the International Union against Cancer in a population of liver transplant candidates.

RESULTS:

Eighty patients with liver disease and 42 control patients were evaluated. Six of 21 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and 11 of 59 patients with other diseases of the liver were positive for albumin reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, making this assay an indicator of ongoing liver damage without absolute specificity for hepatocellular carcinoma. Twelve patients with hepatoma were followed after liver transplantation and seven of those patients had a tumor recurrence within 12 months. Six of these patients with recurrence had International Union against Cancer stage IV A tumors preoperatively, while only one of them was positive for albumin reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction before transplantation. Only one patient with a stage I to III tumor had a recurrence within 12 months.

CONCLUSIONS:

Detection of albumin mRNA in peripheral blood by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction seems to be an unreliable marker for assessing hematogenous spread of hepatocellular carcinoma. With International Union against Cancer stage IV A being a much better predictor of tumor recurrence, the practical value of albumin mRNA reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction for patient selection in liver transplant candidates seems to be very limited.

PMID:
9551689
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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