Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease-related hepatocellular carcinoma growth rates and their clinical outcomes

Jihane N Benhammou, Jonathan Lin, Elizabeth S Aby, Daniela Markovic, Steven S Raman, David S Lu, Myron J Tong

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8 Scopus citations


Aim: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)-associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is projected to become the leading indication for liver transplantation. Previous studies indicate that tumor growth rates (TGR) may predict survival and were helpful in determining HCC surveillance intervals. Therefore, we aimed to determine its usefulness in predicting clinical outcomes and treatments.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of hepatitis B, C and NAFLD-HCC cases. TGR was measured using 2-consecutive pre-treatment contrast-enhanced imaging studies ≥ 25 days apart. A multivariate regression model was used to determine predictors of TGR. In addition, the Cox regression model was used to evaluate the relationship between TGR and overall survival.

Results: From 2000-2019, the study cohort comprised 38, 60, and 47 HBV, HCV, and NAFLD patients, respectively, with TGRs. NAFLD-HCC tumor size was inversely correlated to the extent of liver disease as measured by Child-Pugh score (7.2 cm in non-cirrhosis; 3.7 cm, 2.6 cm, and 2.1 cm in Child A, B, and C, respectively; P < 0.001). After adjusting for baseline characteristics, the TGR per month was fastest in HBV (9.4%, 95%CI: 6.3%-12.5%) compared to HCV (4.9%, 95%CI: 2.8%-7%) and NAFLD patients (3.6%, 95%CI: 1.6%-6.7%). Predictors of TGR included elevated AFP, low albumin, and smaller tumor size. Fast TGR in viral etiologies had higher mortality [adj. hazard ratio (HR) = 2.6, 95%CI: 1.2-5.7, P = 0.02] than slow TGRs, independent of treatments. Fast TGR in NAFLD had a trend towards higher mortality (HR = 3.6, 95%CI: 0.95-13.3, P = 0.059).

Conclusion: NAFLD-HCC patients have more indolent growths than viral-related HCC TGRs. The addition of TGR as a biomarker may assist in stratifying treatment options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHepatoma Research
StatePublished - 2021

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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