Evidence-Based Surveillance Imaging Schedule After Liver Transplantation for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Recurrence.Liu D1, Chan AC, Fong DY, Lo CM, Khong PL. Transplantation. 2017 Jan;101(1):107-111.

BACKGROUND:There is presently no evidence-based recommendation for surveillance of recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma after liver transplantation (LT). We aim to evaluate and develop evidence-based alternate surveillance imaging schedules for post-LT hepatocellular carcinoma patients.

METHODS:Imaging and pathologic reports for consecutive post-LT patients followed up by regular surveillance imaging from a single institution's prospective database were evaluated with institutional review board approval. Outcome variable was time to diagnosis of first recurrence post-LT by surveillance imaging. Recurrence-free survival times from alternative surveillance schedules were compared with the existing schedule (every 3 months) using a parametric frailty model. Expected delay (EpD) in diagnosis compared to the existing schedule was also computed for the alternate surveillance schedules. A P value less than 0.05 was considered to indicate a significant difference.RESULTS:One hundred twenty-five patients (108 men; 59.4 ± 16.6 years) underwent 1953 computed tomography and 255 magnetic resonance imaging scans. Recurrence-free survival time was not significantly different in the first 5 years after LT when the imaging interval was extended from current every 3 months to every 6 months (P = 0.786, EpD = 55 days). This alternative schedule incurred 10 (50.0%) fewer surveillance scans than the 20 in the original schedule, and a corresponding reduction in radiation dose (if involved) and cost during the 5-year follow-up period.CONCLUSIONS:In conclusion, modeled alternative surveillance schedules have the potential to reduce the frequency of scans without compromising surveillance benefits.

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