Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 105–112 | Cite as

Regular surveillance by imaging for early detection and better prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients infected with hepatitis C virus

  • Ikue Noda
  • Mikiya KitamotoEmail author
  • Hideki Nakahara
  • Ryohei Hayashi
  • Tomoaki Okimoto
  • Yoshio Monzen
  • Hiroyasu Yamada
  • Masaru Imagawa
  • Nobuhiko Hiraga
  • Junko Tanaka
  • Kazuaki Chayama
Original Article—Liver, Pancreas, and Biliary Tract



This study evaluated the usefulness of regular check-ups by ultrasonography and contrast-enhanced imaging for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in a retrospective analysis.

Patients and methods

From April 2001 to March 2007, 240 consecutive patients with HCC who were infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) were divided into three groups. Patients diagnosed with HCC by repeated imaging constituted Group A (surveillance group). Group B comprised patients in whom HCC was detected during scheduled doctor visits for liver disease or other diseases such as diabetes. Group C comprised non-screened patients.


The prevalence of solitary tumors decreased from Group A through Group B to Group C (66, 48 and 24%, respectively, P < 0.001). The proportion of patients in stages I and II decreased from 83% (103/124) in Group A to 53% (42/79) in Group B and 24% (9/37) in Group C (P < 0.001). The proportion of patients who were treated with curative procedures, such as resection or ablation, was highest at 80% (99/124) in Group A, and lower at 53% (42/79) in Group B and 27% (10/37) in Group C (P < 0.001). The cumulative survival rate was better in Group A than B (P < 0.05), and in Group B than C (P < 0.001). Periodical medical check-ups without imaging did not necessarily detect early-stage disease, even when HCC-related markers including des-γ-carboxy prothrombin were tested.


Regular surveillance with ultrasonography and contrast-enhanced imaging is useful for detecting early-stage HCC and increase chances for curative treatments in patients with HCV-related chronic liver disease.


Hepatocellular carcinoma Early detection Curative procedures Survival rates Surveillance 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ikue Noda
    • 1
    • 4
  • Mikiya Kitamoto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hideki Nakahara
    • 2
  • Ryohei Hayashi
    • 1
  • Tomoaki Okimoto
    • 3
  • Yoshio Monzen
    • 3
  • Hiroyasu Yamada
    • 1
  • Masaru Imagawa
    • 1
  • Nobuhiko Hiraga
    • 4
  • Junko Tanaka
    • 5
  • Kazuaki Chayama
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of GastroenterologyHiroshima Prefectural HospitalHiroshimaJapan
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryHiroshima Prefectural HospitalHiroshimaJapan
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyHiroshima Prefectural HospitalHiroshimaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Medicine and Molecular Science, Division of Frontier Medical Science, Programs for Biomedical ResearchHiroshima UniversityHiroshimaJapan
  5. 5.Department of Epidemiology, Infectious Disease Control and Prevention, Graduate School of Biomedical SciencesHiroshima UniversityHiroshimaJapan

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