Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the Setting of Non-cirrhotic Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and the Metabolic Syndrome: US Experience

Ryan B Perumpail, Robert J Wong, Aijaz Ahmed, Stephen A Harrison
Digestive Diseases and Sciences 2015, 60 (10): 3142-8

BACKGROUND: Type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome (MS) have been growing in prevalence in the USA and are independent risk factors for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the hepatic manifestation of the MS, with or without nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) can predispose to HCC in the absence of cirrhosis or advanced fibrosis. Nevertheless, the US literature investigating non-cirrhotic HCC in the setting of NAFLD/NASH and MS is lacking.

AIM: To describe a retrospective case series of patients who developed HCC without cirrhosis in the setting of NAFLD/NASH or features of the MS.

METHODS: We identified NAFLD/NASH-associated HCC cases arising in the absence of cirrhosis between January 2010 and September 2012 from a tumor board database at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC).

RESULTS: Of 44 cases of HCC reviewed, six cases of non-cirrhotic HCC associated with NAFLD/NASH and/or MS were identified. Only one patient underwent partial hepatectomy with curative intent. The other five might have been candidates for potential curative partial hepatectomy or liver transplantation had they been diagnosed earlier.

CONCLUSION: Our case series highlights the development of NAFLD/NASH and MS-associated HCC in the absence of cirrhosis in the US population and raises the important question of HCC screening for this at-risk group.

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