Adherence to Screening for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Among Patients with Cirrhosis or Chronic Hepatitis B in a Community Setting
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Screening for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been shown to improve survival via earlier cancer detection. Although HCC screening is considered standard of care in the USA, little is known of the adherence to this practice, especially in a community setting.
Our primary goal was to evaluate adherence to HCC screening and to find predictors of screening adherence in a community setting. Our secondary objective was to determine the impact of screening on survival.
We studied a cohort of 557 consecutive patients at high risk for HCC: patients with cirrhosis and older chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients without cirrhosis (≥45 years old). Patients initiated screening 1/2001–1/2005 and were monitored ≥12 months to 12/2008 in two community gastroenterology clinics in Northern California. HCC screening was categorized into four groups based on combined frequency of serum alpha-fetoprotein and imaging: optimal, suboptimal, poor, and no screening.
About 40.6% of our cohort received poor or no screening. Noncirrhotic CHB patients had worse screening than cirrhotic patients. Multivariate analysis revealed that patients with a greater number of clinical visits per year were 3.4 times more likely to have regular screening than patients with fewer clinical visits per year (P < 0.001). There was a trend for association between HCC screening and greater access to curative treatment.
Since more frequent clinic visits is a strong independent predictor of improved screening adherence, regular routine clinic visits may help improve adherence to HCC screening, which may also lead to improved clinical outcomes.
KeywordsLiver cancer Screening Chronic hepatitis B Cirrhosis HBV
Chronic hepatitis B
Hepatitis B virus
Hepatitis C virus
American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
Health maintenance organization
Preferred provider organization
White blood count
International normalized ratio
Magnetic resonance imaging
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