BioScience Trends. 2022;16(3):212-220. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2022.01121)

Liver transplantation in China: Achievements over the past 30 years and prospects for the future

Mi SZ, Jin ZX, Qiu GT, Xie QY, Hou ZQ, Huang JW


Over the last three decades, liver transplantation (LT) in China has made breakthroughs from scratch. Now, new techniques are being continuously incorporated. However, LT in China differs from that in other countries due to cultural differences and the disease burden. The advances made in and the current issues with LT in China need to be summarized. Living donor LT (LDLT) has developed dramatically in China over the last 30 years, with the goal of increasing transplant opportunities and dealing with the shortage of donors. Western candidate selection criteria clearly are not appropriate for Chinese patients. Thus, the current authors reviewed the literature, and this review has focused on the topics of technological advancements in LDLT and Chinese candidate selection. The Milan criteria in wide use emphasize tumor morphology rather than pathology or biomarkers. α-fetoprotein (AFP) and pathology were incorporated as predictors for the first time in the Hangzhou criteria. Moreover, Xu et al. divided the Hangzhou criteria into type A (tumor size ≤ 8 cm or tumor size > 8 cm but AFP ≤ 100 ng/mL) and type B (tumor size > 8 cm but AFP between 100 and 400 ng/mL), with type B serving as a relative contraindication in the event of a liver donor shortage. In addition, surgeons in Chengdu and Shanghai have the ability to perform a laparoscopic hepatectomy for right and left lobe donors, respectively. China has established a complete LT system, including recipient criteria suitable for Chinese people, a fair donor allocation center, a transplant quality monitoring platform, and mature deceased donor or living donor LT techniques.

KEYWORDS: hepatocellular carcinoma; living donor liver transplantation; Hangzhou criteria; donation after cardiac death; donation after brain death

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