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World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Nov 28;15(44):5511-6.

Liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Imperial College London, St Mary's Hospital Campus, London, United Kingdom.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the commonest primary malignancy of the liver. It usually occurs in the setting of chronic liver disease and has a poor prognosis if untreated. Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) is a suitable therapeutic option for early, unresectable HCC particularly in the setting of chronic liver disease. Following on from disappointing initial results, the seminal study by Mazzaferro et al in 1996 established OLT as a viable treatment for HCC. In this study, the "Milan criteria" were applied achieving a 4-year survival rate similar to OLT for benign disease. Since then various groups have attempted to expand these criteria whilst maintaining long term survival rates. The technique of living donor liver transplantation has evolved over the past decade, particularly in Asia, and published outcome data is comparable to that of OLT. This article will review the evidence, indications, and the future direction of liver transplantation for liver cancer.

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