Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 1063–1071 | Cite as

High risk of primary liver cancer in a cohort of 179 patients with Acute Hepatic Porphyria

  • Eliane Sardh
  • Staffan Wahlin
  • Mikael Björnstedt
  • Pauline Harper
  • Dan E. H. Andersson
Original Article



Previous studies have indicated a high risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in acute hepatic porphyrias. In this retrospective study we present the incidence of primary liver cancer and clinical characteristics in a cohort of 179 acute porphyria patients above the age of 50 years.


Twenty-three cases with primary liver cancer were found either by a surveillance program or due to clinical suspicion. Standardized rate ratio was used to estimate the relative risk of primary liver cancer after indirect standardization. Survival data were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method.


The mean age at diagnosis was 69 years. Hepatocellular carcinoma was found in 19 patients while four patients had cholangiocarcinoma or a combination of the two. Four patients had underlying cirrhosis. Mean tumour size was 4.3 cm in the surveillance group and 10.3 cm in the non-surveillance group (p = 0.01). The overall relative risk of primary liver cancer was 86 above the age of 50: 150 for women and 37 for men. Mean survival time was 5.7 years.


Acute hepatic porphyria carries a high risk of primary liver cancer above the age of 50 which warrants ultrasound surveillance. Sex distribution and frequency of cirrhosis differs from more common aetiologies of primary liver cancer.


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Copyright information

© SSIEM and Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eliane Sardh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Staffan Wahlin
    • 3
  • Mikael Björnstedt
    • 4
  • Pauline Harper
    • 2
  • Dan E. H. Andersson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineKarolinska Institutet, Stockholm South HospitalStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Porphyria Centre Sweden, Department of Laboratory MedicineKarolinska Institutet, Karolinska University HospitalStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of Gastroenterology and HepatologyKarolinska Institutet, Karolinska University HospitalStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Division of Pathology, Department of Laboratory MedicineKarolinska Institutet, Karolinska University HospitalStockholmSweden

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