Hypothesis: Treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma before liver transplantation can curb local tumor progression and thereby prolong patients' transplantation eligibility. Design: Retrospective case-control pilot study. Twelve of 39 patients receiving liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma had treatment before transplantation. Pretreatment included radiofrequency ablation (n = 8), percutaneous ethanol injection (n = 2), both modalities (n = 1), and tumor resection (n = 1). Twelve control subjects without pretreatment who were age-, sex-, and score-matched on the Model for End-stage Liver Disease and Child-Turcotte-Pugh classification were selected. The primary outcome measure was the waiting period for transplantation. Results: Patients with pretreatment waited on the transplant list significantly longer than their counterparts without pretreatment (median, 484 vs 253 days; P = .03). Conclusions: Treatment before transplantation with tumor ablation or resection is associated with a longer waiting period on the transplant list. This enables patients who might otherwise be removed from the list because of tumor progression to receive transplantation.
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