Yonsei Med J.  2021 Jan;62(1):29-40. 10.3349/ymj.2021.62.1.29.

Comparison of Liver Transplantation and Liver Resection for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients with Portal Vein Tumor Thrombus Type I and Type II

  • 1The First Central Clinical College of Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China
  • 2Liver Cancer Center, Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital, National Clinical Research Center for Cancer, Key Laboratory of Cancer Prevention and Therapy, Tianjin’s Clinical Research Center for Cancer, Tianjin, China
  • 3Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Tianjin First Central Hospital, Tianjin Key Laboratory for Organ Transplantation, Tianjin, China
  • 4Post-doctoral Research Center, Nankai University, Tianjin, China
  • 5School of Statistics and Data Science, Nankai University, Key Laboratory for Medical Data Analysis and Statistical Research of Tianjin, Tianjin, China
  • 6Department of Liver Transplantation, Tianjin First Central Hospital, NHC Key Laboratory for Critical Care Medicine, Key Laboratory of Transplantation, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Tianjin, China
  • 7Tianjin Second People’s Hospital, Tianjin Medical Research Institute of Liver Disease, Tianjin, China


The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of liver transplantation (LT) and liver resection (LR) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients with portal vein tumor thrombus (PVTT) and to investigate risk factors affecting prognosis.
Materials and Methods
A total of 94 HCC patients with PVTT type I (segmental PVTT) and PVTT type II (lobar PVTT) were involved and divided into LR (n=47) and LT groups (n=47). Recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) were compared before and after inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW). Prognostic factors for RFS and OS were explored.
Two treatment groups were well-balanced using IPTW. In the entire cohort, LT provided a better prognosis than LR. Among patients with PVTT type I, RFS was better with LT (p=0.039); OS was not different significantly between LT and LR (p=0.093). In subgroup analysis of PVTT type I patients with α-fetoprotein (AFP) levels >200 ng/mL, LT elicited significantly longer median RFS (18.0 months vs. 2.1 months, p=0.022) and relatively longer median OS time (23.6 months vs. 9.8 months, p=0.065). Among patients with PVTT type II, no significant differences in RFS and OS were found between LT and LR (p=0.115 and 0.335, respectively). Multivariate analyses showed treatment allocation (LR), tumor size (>5 cm), AFP and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels to be risk factors of RFS and treatment allocation (LR), AFP and AST as risk factors for OS.
LT appeared to afford a better prognosis for HCC with PVTT type I than LR, especially in patients with AFP levels >200 ng/mL.


Hepatocellular carcinoma; liver transplantation; liver resection; portal vein tumor thrombus
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