, Volume 57, Issue 12, pp 3265-3270
Date: 14 Jun 2012

Hepatitis C Virus-Associated Primary Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Non-cirrhotic Patients

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Abstract

Background

There is limited literature on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the absence of cirrhosis.

Aims

To investigate the relationship between HCV and HCC in the absence of cirrhosis and to characterize patients with HCV infection presenting with HCC in the absence of cirrhosis.

Methods

We identified all adult patients with histological confirmation of HCC between 1994 and 2007 (404 patients). A case–control design (four controls for each case with non-cirrhotic HCC) was chosen to compare characteristics and survival of HCV in HCC patients without (cases) and with (controls) cirrhosis. Conditional logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors independently associated with HCV in non-cirrhotic HCC.

Results

Eighty-seven patients with non-cirrhotic HCC were identified, six (7 %) had HCV infection in comparison with 107 of 317 (55.7 %) with cirrhotic HCC (P < 0.001). Compared with the HCV-associated HCC cirrhotic group, patients with HCV-associated HCC in the absence of cirrhosis were more likely to present with a single nodule (100 vs. 66.7 %), larger nodule size (>5 cm) (100 vs. 16.7 %), and macrovascular invasion (66.7 vs. 17.4 %) at time of diagnosis. Four of six patients with HCV-associated HCC in the absence of cirrhosis where alive at three years (all had resection), which was better survival than for HCC arising in cirrhotic livers of HCV-infected individuals (66.7 vs. 39.1 %).

Conclusion

We found that HCV is responsible for a small minority of non-cirrhotic HCC cases representing an uncommon and poorly defined subgroup of HCC.