In the first national study to examine survival among liver transplant patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), researchers found excellent five-year survival results, with a steady improvement over the last decade. Hepatocellular carcinoma, also known as hepatoma, or cancer of the liver, is a common cancer worldwide, with more than one million new cases diagnosed each year and a median life expectancy of six to nine months. Most hepatoma patients have cirrhosis, a risk factor of hepatoma, and are inoperable because of tumor size, location or severity of underlying liver disease. Results of this study will be reported online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
"This study shows that we can achieve excellent survival with liver transplantation among patients with hepatoma, confirming similar results reported by single center studies," said Paul J. Thuluvath, MD, senior author and Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "These findings are particularly reassuring for patients with tumors that cannot be surgically removed, which comprise more than 80 % of HCC patients."
The primary objective of the study was to determine survival in an unselected patient population who had liver transplantation for HCC. Using the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database, researchers collected data on 48,887 patients who underwent liver transplantation in the United States between 1987 and 2001. Patients were excluded if they had undergone multiple organ transplantation, retransplantation, were less than 18 years of age, or lacked survival information.
Carrie Housman | EurekAlert!
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