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Liver Transpl. 2013 Nov;19(11):1214-23. doi: 10.1002/lt.23715. Epub 2013 Oct 10.

Inferior survival in liver transplant recipients with hepatocellular carcinoma receiving donation after cardiac death liver allografts.

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Multi-Organ Transplant Program, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Canada; Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, Western University, London, Canada.


The impact of ischemia/reperfusion injury in the setting of transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has not been thoroughly investigated. The present study examined data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients for all recipients of deceased donor liver transplants performed between January 1, 1995 and October 31, 2011. In a multivariate Cox analysis, significant predictors of patient survival included the following: HCC diagnosis (P < 0.01), donation after cardiac death (DCD) allograft (P < 0.001), hepatitis C virus-positive status (P < 0.01), recipient age (P < 0.01), donor age (P < 0.001), Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score (P < 0.001), recipient race, and an alpha-fetoprotein level > 400 ng/mL at the time of transplantation. In order to test whether the decreased survival seen for HCC recipients of DCD grafts was more than would be expected because of the inferior nature of DCD grafts and the diagnosis of HCC, a DCD allograft/HCC diagnosis interaction term was created to look for potentiation of effect. In a multivariate analysis adjusted for all other covariates, this interaction term was statistically significant (P = 0.049) and confirmed that there was potentiation of inferior survival with the use of DCD allografts in recipients with HCC. In conclusion, patient survival and graft survival were inferior for HCC recipients of DCD allografts versus recipients of donation after brain death allografts. This potentiation of effect of inferior survival remained even after adjustments for the inherent inferiority observed in DCD allografts as well as other known risk factors. It is hypothesized that this difference could reflect an increased rate of recurrence of HCC.

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