BACKGROUND & AIMS: Policy changes in the United States (US) have overall lengthened waiting times for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We investigate temporal trends in utilization of locoregional therapy (LRT) and associated waitlist outcomes among liver transplant (LT) candidates in the US.METHODS: Data for primary adult LT candidates listed from 2003-2018 who received HCC exception were extracted from the OPTN database. Explant histology was examined, and multivariable competing risk analysis was used to evaluate the association between LRT type and waitlist dropout.RESULTS: There were 31,609 eligible patients with at least one approved HCC exception, and 34,610 treatments among 24,145 LT candidates. The proportion with at least one LRT recorded increased from 42.3% in 2003 to 92.4% in 2018. Chemoembolization remains the most frequent type, followed by thermal ablation, with a notable increase in radioembolization from 3% in 2013 to 19% in 2018. Increased incidence of LRT was observed among patients with tumor burden beyond Milan, higher AFP, and more compensated liver disease. Receipt of any type of LRT was associated with a lower risk of waitlist dropout; there were no significant differences by number of LRT. In IPTW-adjusted analysis, radioembolization or ablation as the first LRT was associated with reduced risk of waitlist dropout compared to chemoembolization.CONCLUSIONS: In a large nationwide cohort of LT candidates with HCC, LRT and in particular radioembolization was increasingly used to bridge to LT. Patients with greater tumor burden and those with more compensated liver disease received more treatments while awaiting LT. Bridging LRT was associated with a lower risk of waitlist dropout.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cgh.2021.07.048
View details for PubMedID 34358718