Race Not Shown to Affect Liver Transplant Outcome

Recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma is only predictor of survival after transplant
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Liver transplant outcomes for patients with hepatitis B are similar regardless of whether the patient is Caucasian, Asian-American or African-American, according to a study in the September issue of Liver Transplantation.

Natalie Bzowej, M.D., of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed data collected from 15 American transplant centers on 274 patients, of whom 116 were Caucasian, 135 were Asian and 23 were African-American. Of these patients, 170 underwent liver transplantation; 19 of these patients died within a median 31 months of follow-up.

The researchers found that all three groups had similar probable odds of undergoing liver transplantation and that five-year post-transplant survival rates were similar, at 94 percent for African-Americans, 89 percent for Caucasians, and 85 percent for Asian-Americans. The recurrence rates for hepatocellular carcinoma, the only predictor of survival, were similar among all groups. The recurrence rate for hepatitis B was 19 percent after four years for Caucasians, but just 7 percent for Asian-Americans and 6 percent for African-Americans.

"There were some differences among these three racial groups. Asian-Americans were significantly more likely to be listed for hepatocellular carcinoma, but hepatocellular carcinoma recurrence rates were similar to those of Caucasians and African-Americans," the authors write. "A surprising finding was a higher rate of hepatitis B recurrence among Caucasians. This finding is inexplicable and needs to be validated."

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