1Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford.
2Division of Gastroenterology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco.
3Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.
Purpose of review: In the United States, candidates with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) meeting standardized qualifying criteria receive similar priority on the liver transplant waiting list through Model for End-Stage Liver Disease exception points, without consideration of the dropout risk or relative expected benefit from liver transplantation. A more nuanced allocation scheme for HCC is needed to better represent the individual urgency for liver transplant and optimize organ utility. In this review, we discuss the development of HCC risk prediction models for practical use in liver allocation.
Recent findings: HCC is a heterogenous disease that requires improved risk stratification for patients who fall within current transplant eligibility criteria. Several models have been proposed, though none have been adopted in clinical practice or liver allocation to date, due to various limitations.
Summary: Improved HCC risk stratification for liver transplant candidates is needed to more accurately represent their urgency for transplant, with continued attention to the potential impact on post-liver transplant outcomes. Plans to implement a continuous distribution model for liver allocation in the United States may provide an opportunity to re-consider a more equitable allocation scheme for patients with HCC.