Background: Portal vein occlusion to increase the size of the future liver remnant (FLR) is well established, using portal vein ligation (PVL) or embolization (PVE) followed by resection 4-8 weeks later. Associating liver partition with portal vein ligation for staged hepatectomy (ALPPS) combines PVL and complete parenchymal transection, followed by hepatectomy within 1-2 weeks. ALPPS has been recently introduced but remains controversial. We compare the ability of ALPPS versus PVE or PVL for complete tumor resection. Methods: A retrospective review of all patients undergoing ALPPS or conventional staged hepatectomies using PVL or PVE at four high-volume HPB centres between 2003 and 2012 was performed. Patients with primary liver tumors and liver metastases were included. Primary endpoint was complete tumor resection. Secondary endpoints include 90-day mortality, complications, FLR increase, time to resection, and tumor recurrence. Results: Forty-eight patients with ALPPS were compared with 83 patients with conventional-staged hepatectomies. Eighty-three percent (40/48 patients) of ALPPS patients achieved complete resection compared with 66 % (55/83 patients) in PVE/PVL (odds ratio 3.34, p = 0.027). Ninety-day mortality in ALPPS and PVE/PVL was 15 and 6 %, respectively (p = 0.2). Extrapolated growth rate was 11 times higher in ALPPS (34.8 cc/day; interquartile range (IQR) 26-49) compared with PVE/PVL (3 cc/day; IQR2-6; p = 0.001). Tumor recurrence at 1 year was 54 versus 52 % for ALPPS and PVE/PVL, respectively (p = 0.7). Conclusions: This study provides evidence that ALPPS offers a better chance of complete resection in patients with primarily unresectable liver tumors at the cost of a high mortality. The technique is promising but should currently not be used outside of studies and registries.
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