Hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

Etsuko Hashimoto, Satoru Yatsuji, Maki Tobari, Makiko Taniai, Nobuyuki Torii, Katsutoshi Tokushige, Keiko Shiratori
Journal of Gastroenterology 2009, 44 Suppl 19: 89-95

BACKGROUND: There have been few reports on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and the natural history of NASH. Accordingly, we assessed the clinical features of HCC in NASH, the risk factors for HCC, and natural history of NASH with advanced fibrosis.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: There were 34 NASH patients with HCC and 348 NASH patients without HCC. To clarify the clinical features of NASH patients with HCC and to determine the risk factors for HCC, we compared NASH patients with HCC with those without HCC. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used for statistical analysis. A prospective cohort study of the outcomes of 137 NASH with advanced fibrosis was started in 1990. The impact of baseline risk factors on the development of HCC and survival was evaluated by Cox regression analysis.

RESULTS: In total, 88% of patients with HCC had advanced fibrosis, with a median age of 70 years. Older age, low level of AST, low grade of histological activity, and advanced stage of fibrosis were risk factors for HCC. A prospective cohort study showed that the 5-year cumulative incidence of HCC was 7.6%, and the 5-year survival rate was 82.8%. HCC was the leading cause of death.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study confirmed that older age and advanced fibrosis were important risk factors for HCC, and that HCC was the major cause of mortality in NASH patients with advanced fibrosis. Regular screening for HCC is thus extremely important for NASH patients with advanced fibrosis.

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