Transplantation for Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Cholangiocarcinoma

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cholangiocarcinoma represent more than 95% of primary hepatic malignancies in adults. The incidence of both seems to be rising. Any form of cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis represent independent risk factors for the development of HCC and cholangiocarcinoma, respectively. The surgical treatment of these malignancies has evolved significantly in the past decade, and liver transplantation (LT) has revolutionized the prognosis of these conditions. Provided both malignancies are diagnosed early in their natural history, LT offers a greater than 75% chance of survival at 4 years. This is a remarkable improvement in the treatment of primary hepatic malignancies and compares favorably with any other form of treatment, including partial liver resection. The application of specific pretransplantation staging criteria, along with the addition of neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy for cholangiocarcinoma, has made these results possible. The development of living donor LT further expands the treatment horizon for both diseases. It also lessens the impact of the scarcity of available deceased donor organs available for transplantation. The future challenge is to better characterize biologic staging/prognostic indicators that could expand the understanding and success in treating both malignancies.

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Correspondence: B. Daniel Campos, MD, Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198. E-mail: danielcampos@mac.com

Disclosure: B. Daniel Campos, MD, has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Disclosure: Jean F. Botha, MD, has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Disclosure: Kerrin G. Robinson, MA, has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

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