HIV-positive people who have liver transplants because of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, the most common form of liver cancer) have high survival rates, reports. Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of the benefits of orthotropic liver transplantation among HIV-positive people with HCC, most of whom were coinfected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV). Results were presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in Boston.

The researchers drew a sample of 367 people living with HIV who were treated for HCC between 1995 and 2005. Twenty-seven of them received liver transplants while 108 were treated by other means, including surgical resection or tumor removal (51 participants), radiofrequency ablation (45) and percutaneous ethanol injection (12).

Those who received liver transplants had an 85 percent 5-year survival rate, compared with 52 percent of the group that received other kinds of HCC treatments.
When the researchers looked only at those with stage A (the earliest phase) of HCC on the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) staging system, the five-year survival rate was still better for those who received transplants. The 5-year survival rate among the transplantees was 89 percent for those with BCLC stages A and B, compared with 67 percent among those with the later stages, C and D.

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