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Gastroenterology. 1993 Jan;104(1):196-202.

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy and liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma: a pilot study in 20 patients.

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Department of Oncology, Sammons Cancer Center, Dallas, Texas.



Liver transplantation for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma yields disappointing results. Most cases recur within 2 years, often in the transplanted liver.


A combination of neoadjuvant doxorubicin and orthotopic liver transplantation was used in 20 patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma confined to the liver. Seventeen patients had tumors > 5 cm in greatest diameter, and 11 cases were stage IVA by the TNM classification. Doxorubicin was administered preoperatively, intraoperatively, and postoperatively at a dose of 10 mg/m2 weekly, totaling 200 mg/m2.


Chemotherapy was well tolerated although leukopenia was observed in 70% of patients. Eight patients died, five of recurrent tumor and three of hepatitis B. Three others remain alive 8-22 months after tumor recurrence. One patient had initial tumor recurrence in the allograft. Actuarial survival is 59% and tumor-free survival is 54% at 3 years. For the 17 patients with tumors > 5 cm, overall survival is 63% and tumor-free survival is 49% at 3 years.


The results of this pilot study suggest that neoadjuvant doxorubicin chemotherapy favorably alters the post-transplant survival of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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