Factors Influencing Surveillance for Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Patients with Liver Cirrhosis

Hager A. Ahmed Mohammed, Ju Dong Yang, Nasra H. Giama, Jonggi Choi, Hawa M. Ali, Kristin C. Mara, William S. Harmsen, Russell H. Wiesner, Michael D. Leise, Terry M. Therneau, Lewis R. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second most common cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide, and a rising cause of cancer mortality in the U.S. Liver cirrhosis is the major risk factor for HCC. Surveillance of persons with cirrhosis facilitates early detection and improves outcomes. We assessed the surveillance rate for HCC within a major academic health system and identified factors influencing surveillance. Patients and Methods: We examined the surveillance rate for HCC using liver ultrasound, CT, or MRI, and factors influencing surveillance in a cohort of 369 Minnesota residents with cirrhosis seen at the Mayo Clinic between 2007 and 2009. Results: Ninety-three percent of cirrhosis patients received at least one surveillance study, but only 14% received the recommended uninterrupted semiannual surveillance. Thirty percent received ≥75% of recommended surveillance, and 59% received ≥50% of recommended surveillance. Factors increasing surveillance included gastroenterology or hepatology specialist visits (p < 0.0001), advanced liver disease as assessed by hepatic encephalopathy (p = 0.0008), and comorbid illness as assessed by diabetes mellitus (p = 0.02). Age, sex, race, residence, cirrhosis etiology, or number of primary care visits did not significantly affect the rate of surveillance. Conclusions: While the rate of surveillance in a major academic health system was higher than reported in other studies, surveillance was heavily dependent on visits to a subspecialist. This suggests a major and urgent national need to improve identification of individuals at risk for HCC in the primary care setting and the initiation and maintenance of surveillance by primary care practitioners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-136
Number of pages11
JournalLiver Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel.


  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver cancer
  • Surveillance/screening


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