Salvage liver transplantation (SLT) has recently been proposed for recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma after liver resection; however, criteria for candidate assessment in SLT have not been thoroughly evaluated.
We retrospectively analyzed outcomes and factors affecting survival of 53 recipients who received SLT in the Liver Transplantation Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University between 2004 and 2012. Thirty recipients fulfilled the Hangzhou criteria, of which 16 also fulfilled the Milan criteria, while the remaining 23 exceeded both criteria. The 1-year, 3-year and 5-year overall survival rates and tumor-free survival rates were both superior in patients fulfilling Milan or Hangzhou criteria compared with those exceeding the criteria. For recipients outside Milan criteria but within Hangzhou criteria, the 1-year, 3-year overall survival rates were 70.1%, 70.1%, similar to recipients within Milan criteria, with the 1-year, 3-year and 5-year overall survival of 93.8%%, 62.1% and 62.1% (P = 0.586). The tumor-free survival rates were also similar between these two subgroups, with 51.9% and 51.9% vs. 85.6%, 85.6% and 64.2% during the same time interval, respectively (P = 0.054). Cox regression analysis identified Hangzhou criteria (within vs. outside, hazard ratio (HR) 0.376) and diameter of the largest tumor (HR 3.523) to be independent predictors for overall survival. The only predictor for tumor-free survival was diameter of the largest tumor (HR 22.289).