Liver resection for cancer: New developments in prediction, prevention and management of postresectional liver failure

Kim M. C. van Mierlo, Frank G. Schaap, Cornelis H. C. Dejong, Steven W. M. Olde Damink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

79 Citations (Web of Science)


Hepatic failure is a feared complication that accounts for up to 75% of mortality after extensive liver resection. Despite improved perioperative care, the increasing complexity and extensiveness of surgical interventions, in combination with an expanding number of resections in patients with compromised liver function, still results in an incidence of postresectional liver failure (PLF) of 1-9%. Preventive measures aim to enhance future remnant liver size and function. Numerous non-invasive techniques to assess liver function and predict remnant liver volume are being developed, along with introduction of novel surgical strategies that augment growth of the future remnant liver. Detection of PLF is often too late and treatment is primarily symptomatic. Current therapeutic research focuses on ([bio]artificial) liver function support and regenerative medicine. In this review we discuss the current state and new developments in prediction, prevention and management of PLF, in light of novel insights into the aetiology of this complex syndrome. Lay summary: Liver failure is the main cause of death after partial liver resection for cancer, and is presumably caused by an insufficient quantity and function of the liver remnant. Detection of liver failure is often too late, and current treatment focuses on relieve of symptoms. New research initiatives explore artificial support of liver function and stimulation of regrowth of the remnant liver.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1217-1231
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Postresectional liver failure
  • Liver resection
  • Hepatic cancer
  • Liver regeneration
  • Review

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