J Korean Surg Soc.  2003 Oct;65(4):322-328.

Outcome of the Liver Resection of the Hepatocellular Carcinoma under Milan Criteria

  • 1Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea. yikim@knu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Pochon CHA University, Kumi CHA Hospital, Gumi, Korea.


Liver resection (LR) has been the treatment of choice for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but resection and survival rates remain low, and recurrence is common in cirrhotic patients. This study was designed to evaluate the outcome after resection of potentially transplantable early HCCs and compare it with that for liver transplantation (LT) as reported in the literature. METHODS: We studied 109 patients with HCC under the Milan criteria who underwent LR at Kyungpook National University Hospital from September 1997 to May 2002. The patients were divided into two groups: group A had a single tumor and group B had two or three tumors. RESULTS: The mean age was 56.1+/-8.1 years and the male-to-female ratio was 4.7: 1. Most of the patients had chronic liver disease due to viral hepatitis, but had preserved hepatic function. Overall survival rates (SR) at 1, 2, 3, and 4 years were 86.7, 69.4, 44.8, and 13.3%, respectively, and the corresponding disease-free survival rates (DFSR) were 74.2, 53.8, 41.6, and 23.7%. SR and DFSR were not significantly different between the two groups, although group B tended to have lower SR and DFSR. At a median follow-up of 25.3 months, 52 patients experienced recurrence, most of whom had intrahepatic recurrence within 2 years after resection. At the time of the diagnosis of recurrence, 34 patients were considered eligible for LT. CONCLUSION: Although most of the patients had preserved hepatic function, LR of early HCC showed low survival rates and high recurrence rates compared with those after LT reported in the literature and in our experiences. Therefore, in the absence of limiting factors, LT may be the better option for surgical treatment of patients with early HCC, even when preserved hepatic function is maintained.


Early hepatocellular carcinoma; Milan criteria; Liver resection

MeSH Terms

Carcinoma, Hepatocellular*
Disease-Free Survival
Follow-Up Studies
Liver Diseases
Liver Transplantation
Survival Rate
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