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Ann Transplant. 2015 Dec 29;20:764-8.

Transarterial Chemoembolization Prior to Liver Transplantation in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

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Department of General, Transplant and Liver Surgery, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.
2nd Department of Clinical Radiology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.
Department of Pathological Anatomy, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.



Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) induces ischemic tumor necrosis, which is intensified by regional chemotherapy. By reducing the active tumor tissue, it can be assumed that patients on the waiting list for liver transplantation may benefit from this locoregional treatment. The aim of this study was to assess the relevance of TACE in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients before liver transplantation.


A retrospective analysis was performed on data of 229 patients who were transplanted for HCC. A group of 75 patients were treated with TACE prior to liver transplantation. Tumor necrosis related to pretransplantation locoregional treatment was assessed in an explanted liver and classified into extensive (51-100%), moderate (26-50%) and limited (<25%) grades. Five-year recurrence-free survival was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared using the log-rank test.


In total, 143 HCC lesions were treated with TACE. Extensive necrosis was found in 63 (44.0%) tumors. Moderate and limited necrosis were observed in 42 (29.4%) and 38 (26.6%) tumors, respectively. In 36 (58.1%) explanted livers, every tumor was classified as extensively necrotic. The 5-year recurrence-free survival was estimated as 81.6% in the group not treated with TACE prior to liver transplantation (TACE-) and as 73.1% in the TACE+ group (p=0.169). Among patients not fulfilling the Milan criteria, 5-year recurrence-free survival was 63.1% in TACE- and 65.1% in TACE+ (p=0.656).


In conclusion, TACE prior to liver transplantation is effective in inducing tumor necrosis. However, evidence of benefits in long-term results after liver transplantation requires further confirmation.

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