Resection and liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma

Josep M. Llovet, Myron Schwartz, Vincenzo Mazzaferro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Surveillance programs in cirrhotic patients enable the detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) at early stages, when the tumor is amenable to curative treatments (60% of cases in Japan; 25 to 40% in Europe and the United States). Resection is the mainstay of treatment in noncirrhotic patients and in cirrhotics with well-preserved liver function. In modern series, a perioperative mortality ≤ 3% and 5-year survival rates above 50% are expected. Tumor recurrence complicates half of the cases at 3 years, but there is no unquestionable preventive treatment. Liver transplantation provides excellent outcomes applying the Milan criteria (single nodule ≤ 5 cm or two or three nodules ≤ 3 cm), with 5-year survival rates of 70% and low recurrence rates. Although expansion of selection criteria is appealing, it should be assessed in the setting of prospective well-designed studies. Intention-to-treat analysis has shown that wide extended indications lead to 25% 5-year survival rates. Living donor liver transplantation is having a minor impact in HCC management. Molecular markers are needed to better select the candidates for surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-200
Number of pages20
JournalSeminars in Liver Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


  • Adjuvant treatments
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver transplantation
  • Living donor liver transplantation
  • Resection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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