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Transpl Int. 2013 Jan;26(1):50-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2012.01572.x. Epub 2012 Oct 25.

(18)F-FDG-PET/CT predicts early tumor recurrence in living donor liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Centre for Liver Cancer, National Cancer Centre, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea.


The prognosis including (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography ((18)F-FDG-PET/CT) for the early recurrence for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) was not well established. Consecutive patients who underwent (18)F-FDG-PET/CT and subsequent LDLT for HCC from March 2005 to June 2011 were enrolled. The 191 patients with a median follow-up of 26.1 months were evaluated. There were 20 patients (10.5%) with early recurrence (≤6 months), 18 patients (9.4%) with late recurrence (>6 months), and 153 patients (80.1%) with no recurrence. Fifty-five patients (28.8%) displayed increased PET/CT tumor uptake. Three-year overall and disease-free survival for PET/CT-positive patients were 65.5% and 57.1%, respectively, while PET/CT-negative patients showed respective values of 89.8% and 86.8% (P = 0.001 vs. P < 0.001). Tumor variables associated with PET/CT-positive finding were preoperative AFP level, Milan, UCSF criteria, maximum tumor size, total tumor size, differentiation, vascular invasion, and serosal invasion. PET/CT-positive status was identified as an independent prognostic factor for disease-free survival influencing early recurrence in multivariable analysis (HR 3.945, 95% CI 1.196-13.016, P = 0.024). (18)F-FDG-PET/CT is an independent and significant predictor of early tumor recurrence in LDLT for HCC.

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