Santiago RODRÍGUEZ, Alfeu de Medeiros FLECK JR, Marcos MUCENIC, Cláudio MARRONI, Ajacio BRANDÃO
Background – In Brazil, the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score is used to prioritize patients for deceased donor liver transplantation (DDLT). Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) receive standardized MELD exception points to account for their cancer risk of mortality, which is not reflected by their MELD score.
Objective – To compare DDLT rates between patients with and without HCC in Rio Grande do Sul, the Southernmost state of Brazil.
Methods – We retrospectively studied 825 patients on the liver-transplant waiting list from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2016, in a transplant center located in Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, to compare DDLT rates between those with and without HCC. The time-varying hazard of waiting list/DDLT was estimated, reporting the subhazard ratio (SHR) of waiting list/DDLT/dropout with 95% confidence intervals (CI). The final competing risk model was adjusted for age, MELD score, exception points, and ABO group.
Results – Patients with HCC underwent a transplant almost three times faster than patients with a calculated MELD score (SHR 2.64; 95% CI 2.10-3.31; P<0.001). The DDLT rate per 100 person-months was 11.86 for HCC patients vs 3.38 for non-HCC patients. The median time on the waiting list was
5.6 months for patients with HCC and 25 months for patients without HCC.
Conclusion – Our results demonstrated that, in our center, patients on the waiting list with HCC have a clear advantage over candidates listed with a calculated MELD score.
HEADINGS – Liver transplantation. Hepatocellular carcinoma. Organ transplantation. Healthcare disparities