Hangzhou criteria as downstaging criteria in hepatocellular carcinoma before liver transplantation: A multicenter study from China
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BACKGROUND: The downstaging of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been confirmed to benefit liver transplantation (LT) patients whose tumors are beyond the transplantation criteria. Milan criteria (MC), a tumor size and number-based assessment, is currently used as the endpoint in these patients. However, many studies believe that tumor biological behavior should be added to the evaluation criteria for downstaging efficacy. Hence, this study aimed to explore the feasibility of Hangzhou criteria (HC), which introduced tumor grading and alpha-fetoprotein in addition to tumor size and number, as an endpoint of downstaging. METHODS: We performed a multicenter and retrospective study of 206 patients accepted locoregional therapy (LRT) as downstaging/bridge treatment prior to LT in three centers of China. RESULTS: Recipients were divided into four groups: failed downstaging to the HC (group A, n = 46), successful downstaging to the HC (group B, n = 30), remained within the HC all the time (group C, n = 113), and tumor progressed (group D, n = 17). The 3-year HCC recurrence probabilities of groups B and C were not significantly different (10.3% vs. 11.6%, P = 0.87). The HCC recurrent rate was significantly higher in group A (52.3%) compared with that in group B/C (P < 0.05). Seven patients (7/76, 9.2%) whose tumor exceeded the the HC were successfully downstaged to the MC, and 39.5% (30/76) to the the HC. In group B, 23 patients remained beyond the MC and their survivals were as well as those of patients within the MC. CONCLUSIONS: Compared to the MC, HC downstaging criteria can give more HCC patients access to LT and furthermore, the outcome of these patients is the same as those matching MC downstaging criteria. Hangzhou downstaging criteria therefore is applicable in clinical practice.
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