Liver resection versus transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhotic patients

Original article


F. Abufalgha , A. Iannelli, J. Gugenheim

Department of hepatobiliary surgery, Archet 2 Hospital, University of Nice – France

JMJ Vol. 4, No. 1 (Summer 2005): 39-42


Surgical resection of hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhotic patients remains controversial because of a high reported recurrence rate. This study compared resection to transplantation in cirrhotic patients with HCC. Methods : Between March 1988 and December 2000, 149 patients with HCC complicating liver cirrhosis, seventy five underwent liver resection and seventy four had liver transplantation . A retrospective review of the clinical files of these 149 patients was performed. Results: In term of overall survival rates , there were significant differences at 3 and 5 years between the resection group and the OLT group,ie, transplantation has better results than resection despite the significant difference in the number and size of tumour nodules between the two groups. Conclusion: Liver transplantation is the best treatment for HCC in cirrhotic patients because it results in removal of the tumour and the precancerous liver tissue, the best indication for transplantation seems to be patients with smaller and oligonodular tumours. Currently the shortage of livers available for transplantation is an important limiting factor.

Keywords: Liver resection, Liver transplant , Hepatocellular carcinoma, Liver cirrhosis