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Amar Mukerji*2, Timothy Nywening1, Andreas Karachristos1
1Surgery, Universiyersity of South Florida, Tampa, FL; 2Heartland Regional Medical Center, Marion, IL

Background: The majority of HCC patients within Milan criteria, compete with cirrhosis patients with high MELD for liver transplantation based on an exceptional score which is the calculated MELD at registration, 28 after six months of waiting, 31 after 1 year and thereafter capped at 34 after one and a half years. In competitive UNOS regions, HCC patients may have to wait for more than a year before they receive a transplant. This prolonged waiting can lead to progression of their cancer and/or cirrhosis and loss of candidature for transplantation while may have been acceptable resection candidates at the beginning of their waiting period. In such regions, survival may be better with hepatectomy as it obviates the waiting.

Aim: To compare the survival of HCC patients with single tumor and low Child's class after liver transplantation or hepatectomy.

Material and Methods: We used the UNOS and NCDB databases to make the comparison. Between 2004 to 2013, 13, 519 patients with HCC were registered for liver transplantation in the US. Of them 5, 338 were of Child's class A; sufficient tumor details were available for 2,726 cases allowing us to select cases with single tumor of up to 5 cm size and within Milan criteria were included in the study. The NCDB database does not record preoperative staging information. Therefore, we selected patients with single tumor of up to 5 cm in size at the time of diagnosis and without major vascular invasion at pathologic staging after partial hepatectomy. 2, 507 patients were included. We assumed that these patients were Child's class A or early B as the NCDB does not record CPT score . AKaplan-Meier survival analysis was performed. We used intention to treat principles and included all patients registered for transplantation whether or not they were transplanted. Survival analysis was was initiated at the time of listing for transplant. Reasons for removal from waiting list were summarized.

Results: The mean age was 58.8 years (std. dev. 7.3) and 77% were male in the transplant (UNOS) arm. The mean age was 62.4 years (std. dev. 11) and 71.8% were male in the hepatectomy (NCDB) arm. Kaplan-Meier survival estimates show that for the first 700 days patients have similar chances of survival. However, as time goes by, patients in the UNOS group experience better survival rates. The Log-rank test for equality of survivor functions, suggests that UNOS patients have better survival rates compared with NCBD (Chi-sq(1) = 83.8, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: In cirrhotic patients with HCC, survival after partial hepatectomy was non-inferior to that after transplantation for the first two years for low Child's class liver disease. Resection should be strongly considered in eligible patients and this strategy could improve organ allocation.

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