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Response to Loco-Regional Therapy Predicts Outcomes After Liver Transplantation for Combined Hepatocellular-Cholangiocarcinoma

Samuel O. Antwi, Yacob Y. Habboush, Lori A. Chase, David D. Lee, Tushar Patel

Abstract

Introduction and aim. Combined hepatocellular-cholangiocarcinoma (HCC-CCA) is a rare liver malignancy distinct from either hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or cholangiocarcinoma. Liver transplantation (LT) is not recommended for HCC-CCA because of suboptimal outcomes. Non-invasive diagnosis of HCC-CCA is extremely challenging; thus, some HCC-CCAs are presumed as HCC on imaging and listed for LT with the correct diagnosis ultimately made on explant pathology. We compared HCC-CCA with HCC to determine the utility of response to pre-transplant loco-regional therapy (LRT) in predicting outcomes for HCC-CCA after LT as a potential means of identifying appropriate HCC-CCA patients for LT. Material and methods. Retrospective review of 19 patients with pathologically confirmed HCC-CCA were individually matched to 38 HCC patients (1:2) based on age, sex, and Milan criteria at listing was performed. The modified response evaluation criteria in solid tumors was used to categorize patients as responders or non-responders to pre-transplant LRT based on imaging performed before and after LRT. Overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) were examined. Results. OS at 3 years post-transplant was 74% for HCC-CCA and 87% for HCC. RFS at 3 years was 74% for HCC-CCA, and 87% for HCC. Among responders to LRT, the 3-year OS was 92% for HCC-CCA and 88% for HCC; among non-responders, 3-year OS was 43% for HCC-CCA and 83% for HCC. Higher 3-year OS was observed among HCC-CCA responders (77%) compared with HCC-CCA non-responders (23%). Conclusions. OS was similarly high among responders to pre-transplant LRT irrespective of tumor type. Radiologic response to LRT could potentially be used to select appropriate HCC-CCA patients for LT if the findings are validated in independent studies.

Key words. Loco-regional therapy, LRT, Combined hepatocellular and cholangiocarcinoma, HCC, Overall survival, Recurrence-free survival

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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