Perfusion machines and hepatocellular carcinoma: a good match between a marginal organ and an advanced disease?
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) accounts for 90% of primary liver cancers, is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths and the leading cause of death in patients with cirrhosis. Liver transplantation (LT) represents the ideal treatment for selected patients as it removes both the tumor and the underlying cirrhotic liver with 5-year survival rates higher than 70%. Unfortunately, due to tumor characteristics, patient co-morbidities or shortage of organs available for transplant, only 20% of patients can undergo curative treatment. Ex situ machine perfusion (MP) is a technology recently introduced that might potentially improve organ preservation, allow graft assessment and increase the pool of available organs. The purpose of this review is to provide an update on the current role of ex situ liver MP in liver transplantation for HCC patients.