Improved survival after treatments of patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease associated hepatocellular carcinoma

Jihane N Benhammou, Elizabeth S Aby, Gayaneh Shirvanian, Kohlett Manansala, Shehnaz K Hussain, Myron J Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Worldwide, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has reached epidemic proportions and in parallel, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has become one of the fastest growing cancers. Despite the rise in these disease entities, detailed long-term outcomes of large NAFLD-associated HCC cohorts are lacking. In this report, we compared the overall and recurrence-free survival rates of NAFLD HCC cases to patients with HBV and HCV-associated HCC cases. Distinguishing features of NAFLD-associated HCC patients in the cirrhosis and non-cirrhosis setting were also identified. We conducted a retrospective study of 125 NAFLD, 170 HBV and 159 HCV HCC patients, utilizing clinical, pathological and radiographic data. Multivariate regression models were used to study the overall and recurrence-free survival. The overall survival rates were significantly higher in the NAFLD-HCC cases compared to HBV-HCC (HR = 0.35, 95% CI 0.15-0.80) and HCV-HCC (HR = 0.37, 95% CI 0.17-0.77) cases. The NAFLD-HCC patients had a trend for higher recurrence-free survival rates compared to HBV and HCV-HCC cases. Within the NAFLD group, 18% did not have cirrhosis or advanced fibrosis; Hispanic ethnicity (OR = 12.34, 95% CI 2.59-58.82) and high BMI (OR = 1.19, 95% CI 1.07-1.33) were significantly associated with having cirrhosis. NAFLD-HCC cases were less likely to exhibit elevated serum AFP (p < 0.0001). After treatments, NAFLD-related HCC patients had longer overall but not recurrence-free survival rates compared to patients with viral-associated HCC. Non-Hispanic ethnicity and normal BMI differentiated non-cirrhosis versus cirrhosis NAFLD HCC. Further studies are warranted to identify additional biomarkers to stratify NAFLD patients without cirrhosis who are at risk for HCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9902
Pages (from-to)9902
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 18 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge that the work presented in this manuscript was part of the PhD dissertation work by Dr. Jihane Benhammou, while a graduate student at UCLA. Jeffrey Gornbein, Ph.D. assisted in part in the statistical analysis of this study. We thank Dr. Vatche Agopian for his valuable feedback during data gathering. We thank Dr. Alireza Sedarat for his feedback during manuscript preparation. UCLA: DDRC Pilot and Feasibility of the National Institutes of Health under award number DKP3041301 and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at UCLA, CTSI Grant ULTR001881 and the UCLA Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) Program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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