Purpose: To evaluate long-term outcomes of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who show a complete response (CR) vs non-CR on pretransplantation imaging studies or pathologic evaluation of liver explants after locoregional therapy (LRT) before liver transplantation. Materials and Methods: Patients listed for liver transplantation for HCC (March 1998 to December 2010) undergoing LRT with available multiphase MR/CT imaging before transplantation were included. Pathologic response was evaluated based on liver explant pathology. A total of 108 patients (17 women; 16%) met the inclusion criteria. Results: Radiologic CR was achieved in 65 patients (60%) vs non-CR in 43 (40%), and pathologic CR was achieved in 36 patients (33%) vs non-CR in 72 (67%). Mean 5-year overall survival (OS) from the time of listing and recurrence-free survival (RFS) after liver transplantation were significantly better for patients with pathologic CR vs non-CR on explant pathology (OS, 83.3% vs 65.2% [28% difference; P =.046]; RFS, 80.6% vs 62.5% [29% difference; P =.045]). Mean 5-y OS and RFS were not significantly different between patients with radiologic CR or non-CR on pretransplantation imaging (OS, 75.4% vs 65.1% [P =.12]; RFS, 74% vs 62.8% [P =.17]). Conclusions: Achievement of a pathologic CR vs non-CR in response to LRT before liver transplantation for HCC is associated with improved OS from time of listing and improved RFS after liver transplantation. However, current imaging paradigms fall short of accurate delineation of response to LRT, resulting in poor correlation of outcomes between pathologic and radiologic CR.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine