Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 502–514 | Cite as

Outcomes of Salvage Liver Transplantation and Re-resection/Radiofrequency Ablation for Intrahepatic Recurrent Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A New Surgical Strategy Based on Recurrence Pattern

  • Xiaoyun Zhang
  • Chuan Li
  • Tianfu Wen
  • Wei Peng
  • Lunan Yan
  • Jiayin Yang
Original Article



The treatment of intrahepatic recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been poorly investigated, and the optimal treatment strategy remains unclear.


The aim of this study was to compare outcomes between salvage liver transplantation (SLT) and re-resection (RR)/radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for intrahepatic recurrent HCC according to recurrence pattern.


Based on postoperative histopathological examination, 122 patients with intrahepatic recurrent HCC were divided into an intrahepatic metastasis (IM, n = 75) group and a multicentric occurrence (MO, n = 47) group. The demographic, clinical, and primary and recurrent tumor characteristics of the IM group and the MO group were collected and compared. Overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were analyzed, and subgroup analysis according to retreatment type (SLT vs. RR/RFA) was conducted. Twenty-nine clinicopathological variables potentially related to prognostic factors affecting survival were analyzed using a Cox proportional hazard model.


The patients that received SLT treatment exhibited favorable DFS compared to patients that received RR/RFA (P = 0.002). OS (P < 0.001) and DFS (P = 0.008) rates were significantly increased in the MO group compared with in the IM group. Subgroup analysis revealed that DFS was significantly improved for patients in the MO group treated with SLT compared to patients treated with RR/RFA (P = 0.017). Recurrence pattern was an independent prognostic factor for both OS [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.093, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.026–0.337, P < 0.001] and DFS (HR = 0.318, 95% CI: 0.125–0.810, P = 0.016; HR = 3.334, 95% CI: 1.546–7.18, P = 0.002).


For patients with intrahepatic recurrent HCC, an MO recurrence pattern is associated with better long-term outcomes than the IM pattern. SLT is the preferred option for intrahepatic recurrent HCC, especially for MO cases.


Intrahepatic recurrence Intrahepatic metastasis Multicentric occurrence Salvage liver transplantation Re-resection Radiofrequency ablation 



This work was in part supported by Grant from the National Science and Technology Key Projects (2017ZX10203207-003-002) and Scientific and Technological Support Project of Sichuan Province (2016SZ0025 and 2015SZ0049).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10620_2017_4861_MOESM1_ESM.docx (32 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 31 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Liver Surgery and Liver Transplantation CenterWest China Hospital of Sichuan UniversityChengduChina

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