Background: Liver transplantation improves survival of patients with end-stage (Childâ€“Pugh stage C) alcoholic cirrhosis, but its benefit for patients with stage B disease is uncertain.
Objective: To compare the outcomes of patients with Childâ€“Pugh stage B alcoholic cirrhosis who are immediately listed for liver transplantation with those of patients assigned to standard treatment with delay of transplantation until progression to stage C disease.
Design: Randomized, controlled trial.
Setting: 13 liver transplantation programs in France.
Patients: 120 patients with Childâ€“Pugh stage B alcoholic cirrhosis and no viral hepatitis, cancer, or contraindication to transplantation.
Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to immediate listing for liver transplantation (60 patients) or standard care (60 patients).
Measurements: Overall and cancer-free survival over 5 years.
Results: Sixty-eight percent of patients assigned to immediate listing for liver transplantation and 25% of those assigned to standard care received a liver transplant. All-cause death and cirrhosis-related death did not statistically differ between the 2 groups: 5-year survival was 58% (95% CI, 43% to 70%) for those assigned to immediate listing versus 69% (CI, 54% to 80%) for those assigned to standard care. In multivariate analysis, independent predictors of long-term survival were absence of ongoing alcohol consumption (hazard ratio, 7.604 [CI, 2.395 to 24.154]), recovery from Childâ€“Pugh stage C (hazard ratio, 7.633 [CI, 2.392 to 24.390]), and baseline Childâ€“Pugh score less than 8 (hazard ratio, 2.664 [CI, 1.052 to 6.746]). Immediate listing for transplantation was associated with an increased risk for extrahepatic cancer: The 5-year cancer-free survival rate was 63% (CI, 43% to 77%) for patients who were immediately listed and 94% (CI, 81% to 98%) for those who received standard care.
Limitation: Restriction of the study sample to alcoholic patients may limit the generalizability of results to other settings.
Conclusion: Immediate listing for liver transplantation did not show a survival benefit compared with standard care for Childâ€“Pugh stage B alcoholic cirrhosis. In addition, immediate listing for transplantation increased the risk for extrahepatic cancer.
Funding: The French National Program for Clinical Research.