Is it time to abandon the Milan criteria? Results of a bicoastal US collaboration to redefine hepatocellular carcinoma liver transplantation selection policies

Karim J. Halazun, Parissa Tabrizian, Marc Najjar, Sander Florman, Myron Schwartz, Fabrizio Michelassi, Benjamin Samstein, Robert S. Brown, Jean C. Emond, Ronald W. Busuttil, Vatche G. Agopian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: European liver transplant (LT) centers have moved away from using the Milan Criteria (MC) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patient selection, turning to models including tumor biological indices, namely alphafetoprotein (AFP). We present the first US model to incorporate an AFP response (AFP-R), with comparisons to MC and French-AFP models (F-AFP). Methods: AFP-R was measured as differences between maximum and final pre-LT AFP in HCC patients undergoing LT at 3 US centers (2001 to 2013). Cox and competing risk-regression analyses identified predictors of recurrence-free survival (RFS). Results: Of 1450 patients, 235 (16.2%) were outside MC. Tumor size, number, and AFP-R were independent predictors of RFS and were assigned weighted points based on Cox-regression analysis. An AFP-R consistently < 200 ng/mL predicted the best outcome. A 3-tiered competing-risk RFS model, the New York/ California (NYCA) score, was developed, accurately discriminating between groups (P < 0.001), and correlating with overall survival (P < 0.001). Two hundred one of 235 patients outside MC (85.5%) would be recategorized into NYCA low/acceptable-risk groups. The c-statistic for our NYCA score is 0.731 compared with 0.613 for MC and 0.658 for F-AFP (P < 0.0001). Conclusion: Incorporation of AFP-R into HCC selection criteria allows for MC expansion. As United Network for Organ Sharing considers adding AFP to selection algorithms, the NYCA score provides an objective, user-friendly tool for centers to appropriately risk-stratify patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690-699
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Surgery
Volume268
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Alpha-fetoprotein
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Milan criteria
  • Tumor biology

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