2015-11-05 17:19:07 UTC

What Causes HCC When Cirrhosis Is Not a Factor?

Nov. 9, 2015

CGH research suggests NAFLD and metabolic syndromes are the biggest risk factors in the absence of cirrhosis.

While the majority of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cases develop in individuals with cirrhosis, a new study published online in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology (CGH) reports that approximately 13 percent of patients have no evidence of cirrhosis at the time of HCC diagnosis. The main risk factors in the absence of cirrhosis are nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or metabolic syndrome. Further, these patients are less likely to have alcohol abuse or HCV infection, compared with HCC patients with cirrhosis.

These findings have important implications for HCC surveillance practices and paradigms in the absence of cirrhosis, particularly in those patients with NAFLD. Future research is needed to identify actionable risk factors and/or biomarkers to predict NAFLD patients at higher risk of developing HCC.

Sahil Mittal, MD, MS, from Baylor College of Medicine, led this retrospective cohort study, which looked at HCC patients diagnosed during 2005 to 2011 in the Veterans Health Administration system. For additional insights, review the full study on the CGH website (login required).

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