The presence of non-hepatic malignancy and its implication in pursuing liver transplantation

Maneerat Chayanupatkul, Maya Gambarin-Gelwan, Thomas D. Schiano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Primary extrahepatic malignancy and chronic liver disease co-exist in a considerable number of patients, creating a dilemma both in the aspects of liver transplant candidacy and cancer therapy. In this review, we will explore several aspects and controversies of liver transplantation in patients with non-hepatocellular carcinoma malignancy including risks of cancer recurrence after liver transplantation and the ethical dilemma of the selection of liver transplantation candidates with non-hepatic malignancy. Methods: We performed a search in several online databases and reviewed published articles and ongoing clinical trials in the topics of transplantation and pre-existing malignancies. Results and Discussion: Liver transplantation can be safely performed in selected patients with pre-existing extrahepatic malignancies with low recurrence rate if they have an expected 5-year survival rate of at least 50%. The cancer-free period before transplantation depends on the type, stage, and location of cancer. A shorter or no wait-time may be considered in an early stage cancer or carcinoma in situ. The urgency and benefits of liver transplantation should also be taken into consideration when determining a reasonable wait-time. This is particularly important in patients with decompensated cirrhosis who cannot afford to wait a few years before they can undergo liver transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14410
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • chemotherapy
  • liver transplantation
  • malignancy
  • neoplasm
  • outcome


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