November 9, 2014

Transplanting Patients with HIV and Liver Cancer

Attention: Medical & Science Editors/Producers

Media Contact: Gregory Bologna
Press Room: November 7 – 11, 2014
Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA
Telephone: 617-954-2977

Researcher: Heather Platt, MD
Phone: 732-485-9222 

For Immediate Release
Presented: Date Monday, November 10

Liver transplantation is a therapeutic option for selected patients with liver cancer with high 5-year survival rates of 75 – 80 percent. HIV-infected patients often do not have access to liver transplantation, and experience with HIV-infected patients with liver cancer undergoing liver transplantation is limited.

An international group of researchers at 43 centers in North and South America, Europe, and Australia retrospectively identified 135 HIV-positive patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who underwent potentially curative treatment.  Twenty-seven patients who underwent orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) were compared to 108 patients who underwent either radiofrequency ablation, surgical resection, or percutaneous ethanol injection.

Compared to the 108 patients undergoing other potentially curative therapy, the 27 patients undergoing OLT were younger, had higher Child-Turcotte-Pugh scores (used to assess liver function), and more often had multiple liver tumors, but were otherwise similar in disease etiology, frequency of alcohol abuse, and control of HIV infection.

Patients who had a liver transplantation had a significantly higher 5-year survival rate of 85 percent, compared to 52 percent for all other curative therapies combined. The 5-year survival rate of 85 percent was similar to 75 – 80 percent reported in HIV-negative patients with HCC undergoing OLT.

When asked about the results, Heather Platt, MD, principal investigator of the study said, "The primary point of this study is to show that HIV+ patients with HCC should be included in evaluation for OLT, as there does not seem to be any difference in survival when compared to HIV negative patients. Importantly, the survival data, while retrospective, does indicate a benefit compared to other curative interventions. "

Dr. Platt also addressed barriers to transplanting these patients. Dr. Platt said, "The main barriers include a center's experience and comfort with transplanting HIV+ patients. HIV+ patients are examined quite carefully for compliance and for anticipation of post-transplant complications. This requires a comprehensive, multidisciplinary transplant program including specialists in HIV care."

Abstract title:
Liver transplantation for HIV-infected patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)


AASLD is the leading medical organization for advancing the science and practice of hepatology. Founded by physicians in 1950, AASLD's vision is to prevent and cure liver diseases. This year's Liver Meeting®, held in Washington, November 7-11, will bring together more than 9,000 researchers from 55 countries.

A pressroom will be available from November 7 at the annual meeting. For copies of abstracts and press releases, or to arrange researcher interviews, contact Gregory Bologna at 703-299-9766.

Press releases and all abstracts are available online at


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