Background/Purpose: The role of living-donor liver transplantation (LDLT) in the surgical treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has not been established as yet. Methods: Preliminary experience gained from 24 patients who underwent LDLT for HCC between March 2002 and November 2004, and the results of the 131 patients who underwent hepatic resection (HR) for HCC between January 1990 and December 2003 were retrospectively analyzed. The exclusion criteria for LDLT for HCC included extrahepatic metastasis and major vascular invasion. Results: (1) LDLT: the median age of the patients was 57 years and the Child-Pugh grades (A/B/C) of the patients were 6, 12, and 6, respectively. The tumor size was 3 cm or less in 15 patients, multinodular tumors were present in 23 patients, and 11 patients (45.8%) met the Milan Criteria. The overall 2-year survival rate was 72.3%, without a significant difference as to whether or not patients met the Milan criteria. (2) HR: On multivariate analysis, the Child-Pugh grade, the presence of cirrhosis, and the number of tumor nodules were considered as independent risk factors for unfavorable survival (P < 0.05). The 84 patients who met the Milan criteria and were Child-Pugh grade A had a 5-year survival rate of 71.3%; this was significantly better than those of the other patients (P < 0.005). Among the 57 patients with intrahepatic recurrence, 18 patients who were Child-Pugh grade A, met the Milan criteria, and were treated by re-resection or ablation therapy achieved a significantly better 5-year survival rate, of 73.1%, as compared to 19.7% in the other 39 patients (P < 0.0045). Conclusions: HR could be a first-line treatment with a favorable prognosis for patients who have resectable HCC, preserved liver function, and who meet the Milan criteria. Salvage LDLT could be employed in patients with recurrent tumors that cannot be controlled by conventional treatment or in patients in whom liver function has deteriorated to Child-Pugh grade B or C.
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