NAFLD-Associated Hepatocellular Carcinoma: a Threat to Patients with Metabolic Disorders
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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common cancers worldwide, and its prevalence is increasing in relation to the epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, via non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Unhealthy lifestyles associated with metabolic disorders are per se risk conditions for NAFLD progression, and specific gene polymorphisms may also favor oncogenesis, particularly in the presence of advanced fibrosis or cryptogenic cirrhosis. However, NAFLD-associated HCC may also develop in non-cirrhotic NAFLD and is frequently diagnosed at a more advanced tumor stage, compared with virus/alcohol-related HCC. This highlights the need for screening programs and long-term surveillance for earlier HCC detection in patients with metabolic risk factors, a policy hindered by the large number of cases at risk, with costs unaffordable by National health systems. New screening tools and cost-utility studies are eagerly awaited to develop more appropriate programs for early detection and treatment of NAFLD-associated HCC.
KeywordsHepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NAFLD) Surveillance Treatment
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Conflicts of Interest
AS, LB, and GM declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
With regard to the authors’ research cited in this paper, all procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any animal studies performed by any of the authors.
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