Locally advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with portal vein thrombosis carries a 1-year survival rate <10%. Localized concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT), followed by hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy (HAIC), was recently introduced in this setting. Here, we report our early experience with living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) in such patients after successful down-staging of HCC through CCRT and HAIC. Between December 2011 and September 2012, eight patients with locally advanced HCC at initial diagnosis were given CCRT, followed by HAIC, and underwent LDLT at the Severance Hospital, Seoul, Korea. CCRT [45 Gy over 5 weeks with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) as HAIC] was followed by HAIC (5-FU/cisplatin combination every 4 weeks for 3–12 months), adjusted for tumor response. Down-staging succeeded in all eight patients, leaving no viable tumor thrombi in major vessels, although three patients first underwent hepatic resections. Due to deteriorating liver function, transplantation was the sole therapeutic option and offered a chance for cure. The 1-year disease-free survival rate was 87.5%. There were three instances of post-transplantation tumor recurrence during follow-up monitoring (median, 17 months; range, 10–22 months), but no deaths occurred. Median survival time from initial diagnosis was 33 months. Four postoperative complications recorded in three patients (anastomotic strictures: portal vein, 2; bile duct, 2) were resolved through radiologic interventions. Using an intensive tumor down-staging protocol of CCRT followed by HAIC, LDLT may be a therapeutic option for selected patients with locally advanced HCC and portal vein tumor thrombosis.
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