Seehofer D, Petrowsky H, Schneeberger S, Vibert E, Ricke J, Sapisochin G, Nault JC, Berg T.Transpl Int. 2022 Apr 21;35:10333. doi: 10.3389/ti.2022.10333
Background and Aims: Morphometric features such as the Milan criteria serve as standard criteria for liver transplantation (LT) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Since it has been recognized that these criteria are too restrictive and do not adequately display the tumor biology, additional selection parameters are emerging. Methods: Concise review of the current literature on patient selection for downstaging and LT for HCC outside the Milan criteria. Results: The major task in patients outside the Milan criteria is the need for higher granularity with patient selection, since the benefit through LT is not uniform. The recent literature clearly shows that beneath tumor size and number, additional selection parameters are useful in the process of patient selection for and during downstaging. For initial patient selection, the alpha fetoprotein (AFP) level adds additional information to the size and number of HCC nodules concerning the chance of successful downstaging and LT. This effect is quantifiable using newer selection tools like the WE (West-Eastern) downstaging criteria or the Metroticket 2.0 criteria. Also an initial PET-scan and/or tumor biopsy can be helpful, especially in the high risk group of patients outside the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) criteria. After this entry selection, the clinical course during downstaging procedures concerning the tumor and the AFP response is of paramount importance and serves as an additional final selection tool. Conclusion: Selection criteria for liver transplantation in HCC patients are becoming more and more sophisticated, but are still imperfect. The implementation of molecular knowledge will hopefully support a more specific risk prediction for HCC patients in the future, but do not provide a profound basis for clinical decision-making at present.