Liver resection is the most available, efficient treatment for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Better liver function assessment, increased understanding of segmental liver anatomy using more accurate imaging studies, and surgical technical progress are the most important factors that have led to reduced mortality, with an expected 5 year survival of 70%. Impairment of liver function and the risk of tumor recurrence lead to consideration of liver transplantation (LT) as the ideal treatment for removal of the existing tumor and the preneoplastic underlying liver tissue. However, LT, which is not available in many countries, is restricted to patients with minimum risk of tumor recurrence under immunosuppression. Limited availability of grafts as well as the risk and the cost of the LT procedure has led to considerable interest in combined treatment involving resection and LT. An increasing amount of evidence has shown that initial liver resection in transplantable patients with a single limited tumor and good liver function is a valid indication. Histological analysis of specimens allows identification of the subgroup of patients who could benefit from follow-up with LT in case of recurrence.

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