Pulmonary Resection for Metastasis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Recurring After Liver Transplant: An Italian Multicenter Experience

Federica Invenizzi, Massimo Iavarone, Maria Francesca Donato, Alessandra Mazzucco, Massimo Torre, Serena Conforti, Arianna Rimessi, Claudio Zavaglia, Marco Schiavon, Giovanni Comacchio, Federico Rea, Riccardo Boetto, Umberto Cillo, Daniele Dondossola, Luciano De Carlis, Pietro Lampertico, Mario Nosotti, Paolo Mendogni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aim: Liver transplantation (LT) is a validated treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HCC recurrence occurred between 8 and 20% of patients and lung is the most frequent site. Pulmonary metastases resection (PMR) prolongs survival, however in LT-setting the impact on survival is unclear. To give new lights on this issue, we report the experience of three Italian LT Centers. Methods: All consecutive HCC transplanted patients in three Italian LT Centers, who developed pulmonary metastasis from HCC (PM-HCC), as first metastasis, from 2008 to 2018, were included whenever treated with PMR. Results: Twenty-five patients were enrolled (median age 58 yrs, 84% male, 3% cirrhotics). HCC recurred after 34 months (9–306) since LT and PMR was performed after 2.4 months (0–43.1). A total of 28 PMR (19 single resections; 9 multiple resections; 16 right; 2 left) have been performed on 24 patients while in one case percutaneous microwave ablation (MWA) was preferred. Four patients have been re-operated due to pulmonary HCC-recurrence after surgery. The majority of surgical resection type was wedge resection (26, 89%). Surgical access was: video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) in 17 cases (59%); thoracotomy in 11 (38%); MWA in 1 (3%). The 48% of nodule was in right lower lobe. Perioperative in-hospital mortality and 30 days mortality were nil; median surgical time 90 min (50–365); median post-operative overall stay 5 days (2–11). Post-operative ICU treatment was necessary in 1 case (3%) for 3 days; blood transfusions in 2 cases (7%). Overall, 5 complications (2 bleeding; 1 AKI; 1 major cardiac; 1 wound dehiscence) occurred, with an overall complications rate of 23%. Eight (32%) patients died during a follow-up after HCC recurrence of 32 months (7–213): 7 for HCC progression, 1 for severe liver failure due to chronic rejection. The 1 and 5 year cumulative probability of OS from recurrence were 100 and 43% (95%CI 12–74), respectively, with a median OS of 51 months (95%CI 24–78). Conclusion: Selected patients with isolated pulmonary HCC-recurrence after LT and with preserved hepatic function showed that a pulmonary metastasectomy could be efficacious in managing a PM-HCC and could give an opportunity for long-term survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article number381
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 15 2020


  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • liver transplantation
  • pulmonary metastases
  • pulmonary resection
  • recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Pulmonary Resection for Metastasis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Recurring After Liver Transplant: An Italian Multicenter Experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this