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Am J Transplant. 2008 Oct;8(10):1982-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2008.02351.x. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

Liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma: beyond the Milan criteria.

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Division of Gastroenterology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0538, USA.


Liver transplantation represents a cornerstone in the management of early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Expansion beyond the Milan criteria for liver transplantation (1 lesion <or= 5 cm, or 2 to 3 lesions each <or= 3 cm) remains controversial. This review covers several key areas: (1) Recent developments and published data on expanded criteria for deceased donor and live-donor liver transplantation, with emphasis on criteria that have been applied to preoperative imaging. (2) Independent testing of expanded criteria, where published data are largely limited to the proposed University of California, San Francisco criteria (1 lesion <or= 6.5 cm, 2-3 lesions each <or= 4.5 cm with total tumor diameter <or= 8 cm). (3) Response to loco-regional therapy and tumor downstaging. (4) The fundamental questions and answers in resolving the controversy over expanded criteria. The key issue pertains to whether acceptable outcome can be achieved on a broader scale beyond single center experience, which appears to support modest expansion beyond the Milan criteria. The foundation of the debate over expanded criteria may rest upon what the transplant community would consider to be the acceptable threshold for patient survival using expanded criteria, without causing significant harm to other transplant candidates without HCC.

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