Edward Quebbeman, MD, PhD, Medical College of Wisconsin surgical oncologist explains the role of transplant for primary liver cancer.
The most invasive treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma liver transplantation, but it is only an option for patients whose tumor meets specific criteria. In the United States, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) manages allocation of donated organs, through 11 regions of the country.
Liver transplantation involves complete surgical removal of the entire liver, and replacement with part of a healthy liver from a deceased organ donor, or in special circumstances, from a living related donor.
Patients with HCC meeting the UNOS criteria: a single tumor less than 5 cm in diameter, or 2-3 tumors each less than 3 cm who undergo liver transplantation have an average 5 –year survivals of 65-80%. Patients may not have tumor in blood vessels or outside the liver. After liver transplantation, the recipient must take powerful drugs (immunosuppressant), which decrease their body's natural tendency to reject the new liver. Patients also undergo frequent blood tests, imaging studies, and medical visits to have their liver monitored for signs of liver rejection and tumor recurrence.
Last Updated on 4/16/2012 2:41:47 PM