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Liver Transplant Survival May Improve With Race Matching

Race-matched donor organ tied to improved survival for African-Americans with HCC undergoing transplant

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — For African-American patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) undergoing liver transplantation, donor-recipient race matching is associated with improved survival, according to a study published online Jan. 10 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Jack P. Silva, from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and colleagues examined the effect of donor-recipient race matching on overall survival after liver transplantation among adult African-American patients with HCC. Using the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network database, adult African-American patients with HCC undergoing liver transplantation were identified. Patients were classified according to whether the liver donor was African-American (matched) or another race (unmatched).

The researchers found that 23.5 percent of the 1,384 African-American patients were matched by race. Compared with the unmatched cohort, matched patients had significantly better median overall survival (135 versus 78 months). The adjusted hazard ratio was 0.66 for race-matched transplantation in multivariate analysis. Improved five-year survival was also seen for matched patients (64.2 versus 56.9 percent).

“Despite prior studies linking African-American donor race to worse outcomes, this finding does not apply to African-American recipients,” the authors write. “For African-Americans with HCC eligible for liver transplantation, donor race-matching may aid in future organ allocation, as it is associated with improved long-term survival.”

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