Research shows how gender influences the success of liver transplants in cancer patients

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Overall survival (OS) of different donor-recipient match patterns based on sex after PSM. OS of different transplantation patterns based on gender. M–M, male donor transplantation to male recipient; F–F, transplantation from female donor to female recipient; M–F, transplantation from male donor to female recipient; F–M, Transplantation from female donor to male recipient. Credit: Cancer biology and medicine (2024). DOI: 10.20892/j.issn.2095-3941.2023.0453

Liver transplantation is a lifesaving option for people with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer. Although often successful, results can vary widely between recipients.

An important variable that is attracting increasing attention is gender and its impact on post-transplant survival rates. Historically, men have had a higher incidence of HCC and were more likely to require liver transplants. However, recent research suggests that female patients may fare better after transplantation, suggesting that organ allocation practices need to be reassessed for greater fairness and better care.

a recent research published in Cancer biology and medicine has revealed crucial insights into liver transplant surgery. The large-scale study involved more than 3,700 HCC patients from different regions of China and revealed significant sex-related differences in post-transplant survival rates. Led by Zhejiang University School of Medicine, the research could prompt a reevaluation of organ allocation practices to improve transplant success and equity.

The researchers examined data from 3,769 patients who underwent liver transplantation for HCC, using propensity score matching (PSM) to ensure comparable groups. The results were remarkable: female recipients showed significantly higher overall survival rates 1, 3, and 5 years post-transplant compared to their male counterparts.

Interestingly, this survival advantage did not appear to be affected by the gender of the donor, suggesting that the gender of the recipient, not the donor, is critical. The study also found that male recipients of transplants from male donors (MM pattern) had the worst outcomes, implying that male livers may be more suitable for female recipients.

These findings have practical implications for organ allocation in transplantation. Because sex is a critical factor in post-transplant success, transplant centers could improve outcomes by adjusting allocation strategies accordingly. This study adds to the growing body of evidence supporting personalized medicine, where individual factors such as sex are key to medical decisions.

Dr. Jian Chen, the study’s lead author, said: “Our findings suggest that female recipients generally have better outcomes after liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma. The results underscore the importance of considering sex when evaluating post-transplant survival.” and making organ allocation decisions.”

The implications of the study are significant for liver transplant practices. The evidence points to a survival advantage for female recipients, suggesting that organ allocation should take recipient gender into account. Furthermore, the donor-recipient pattern may need further investigation to understand its effect on post-transplant survival.

More information:
Jian Chen et al., Influence of sex on the outcomes of liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma: a multicenter cohort study in China, Cancer biology and medicine (2024). DOI: 10.20892/j.issn.2095-3941.2023.0453

Provided by the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Quote: Study Shows How Gender Affects the Success of Liver Transplants in Cancer Patients (2024, May 9) Retrieved May 9, 2024 from

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