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Wai CT, Lee YM, Wang SC, Da Costa M, Isaac J, Wee A, Lim SG
Correspondence: Dr Seng-Gee Lim, email@example.com
Introduction The prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is poor. Surgical resection offers the benefit of removal of the tumour but is associated with liver decompensation and tumour recurrence, even after successful surgery. Liver transplantation offers the benefits of complete tumour removal with prevention of both decompensation and recurrence post-operation. This paper aims to review results of liver transplantation for patients with HCC in Singapore.
Methods All adult patients with HCC accepted on the waiting list for liver transplantation (based on the Milan criteria) from 1996 to 2004 in Singapore were reviewed. Patients' HCC were managed with either transarterial chemoembolisation or percutaneous radiofrequency ablation while they were on the waiting list. Post-transplant survival and factors associated with mortality were analysed by Cox regression analysis.
Results 41 patients with HCC were accepted onto the waiting list over the nine-year period. 22 underwent transplantation and 19 did not, with a one-year survival of 91 percent versus 24 percent, respectively. (p-value is less than 0.001). Mean waiting time for transplant was 39 weeks. Post-transplant HCC recurrence was 2/22 (nine percent). Among all patients, mortality was significantly related to baseline white cell counts, prothrombin time, age, alpha-foetoprotein level, Child-Pugh score, and whether patients underwent transplant.
Conclusion Despite the relatively long waiting time of a mean of 39 weeks, post-transplant recurrence of HCC was relatively low at nine percent. Liver transplant is an effective treatment for patients with a HCC, with a reasonable long-term survival.
Keywords: chronic hepatitis B, chronic hepatitis C, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver transplantation
Singapore Med J 2006; 47(7): 584-587