Published online Jul 28, 2016. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v8.i21.874
Peer-review started: April 6, 2016
First decision: June 7, 2016
Revised: June 17, 2016
Accepted: July 11, 2016
Article in press: July 13, 2016
Published online: July 28, 2016
Liver transplantation (LT) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been established as a standard treatment in selected patients for the last two and a half decades. After initially dismal outcomes, the Milan criteria (MC) (single HCC ≤ 5 cm or up to 3 HCCs ≤ 3 cm) have been adopted worldwide to select HCC patients for LT, however cumulative experience has shown that MC can be too strict. This has led to the development of numerous expanded criteria worldwide. Morphometric expansions on MC as well as various criteria which incorporate biomarkers as surrogates of tumor biology have been described. HCC that presents beyond MC initially can be downstaged with locoregional therapy (LRT). Post-LRT monitoring aims to identify candidates with favorable tumor behavior. Similarly, tumor marker levels as response to LRT has been utilized as surrogate of tumor biology. Molecular signatures of HCC have also been correlated to outcomes; these have yet to be incorporated into HCC-LT selection criteria formally. The ongoing discrepancy between organ demand and supply makes patient selection the most challenging element of organ allocation. Further validation of extended HCC-LT criteria models and pre-LT treatment strategies are required.
Core tip: Numerous expanded selection criteria for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)-liver transplantation (LT) have been proposed worldwide. Surrogates of favorable tumor biology such as Post-locoregional therapy strategies which observe tumor behavior, and the addition of HCC biomarkers to selection criteria have been explored. Further investigation is encouraged to identify patients beyond MC with the most favorable tumor biology for LT.