Alpha-Fetoprotein as a Modifier of Anatomic Criteria for Transplantation of HCC Patients

Ahmed Daoud, Karim Soliman, Larry Teeter, Hatem Ali, Edward A. Graviss, Sherif Mogawer, Amany Sholkamy, Mostafa El-Shazli, A. Osama Gaber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The current listing criteria (Milan, University of California San Francisco [UCSF]) for orthotropic liver transplants (OLT) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients emphasize the anatomic features of the tumor such as size, burden, and multiplicity. Recent reports showed that patients with large tumors may have equivalent survival to Milan criteria patients. This suggests that differences in biologic behavior of tumors may contribute to the outcome. Aim: The aim of this article is to understand the impact of biologic modifiers such as alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) on survival in both Milan and UCSF HCC patients. Methods: We reviewed all liver transplants reported to the United Network for Organ Sharing between 2002 and 2013. We analyzed the survival of patients transplanted for HCC who fit the Milan criteria and those transplanted with tumors beyond Milan and within UCSF criteria. We tested various AFP level cutoffs in both groups in relationship to the 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates below and above the proposed cutoffs. Results: Survival difference was significant between Milan patients with AFP ≤ 2500 ng/mL and those with AFP > 2500 ng/mL (59.1% vs 37.4%; P < .001). The mean 5-year survival was 55% for beyond Milan within UCSF patients with AFP ≤ 150 ng/mL and 35.7% for those with AFP > 150 ng/mL (P = .003). Conclusion: AFP level should be incorporated in the selection criteria for HCC patients considered for OLT. Milan patients with an AFP level exceeding 2500 ng/mL have reduced survival. Patients with tumors beyond Milan and within UCSF criteria whose AFP ≤ 150 ng/mL achieve acceptable 5-year survival and are good candidates for OLT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-838
Number of pages6
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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