*Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Stanford University Medical Center ‡Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto †Pacific Health Foundation §San Jose Gastroenterology, San Jose, CA.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) causes approximately a half million deaths annually with the majority related to chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and cirrhosis. Results on HCC incidence in CHB patients without cirrhosis are conflicting.
This study aimed to examine HCC incidence in 2 high-risk groups: (1) patients with noncirrhotic CHB and 45 years of age or older; and (2) patients with cirrhosis of all etiologies and any age.
Through electronic query using ICD-9 diagnosis codes for CHB and cirrhosis (070.32 and 571.5, respectively) between January 2001 and January 2008, a total of 949 patients with 12 months of follow-up or longer were identified and reviewed. Over 4231.5 person-years of observation, HCC developed in 15 of the 741 noncirrhotic CHB patients and 30 of the 208 cirrhotic patients. Male and female noncirrhotic CHB patients had significantly lower annual HCC incidences than those found in male and female patients with cirrhosis regardless of etiologies (0.7% vs. 4.1%, P<0.0001 and 0.1% vs. 2.7%, P<0.0001). Annual HCC incidence increased significantly with age in both sexes of noncirrhotic CHB patients. In noncirrhotic CHB patients, annual HCC incidence was very low in young females, but increased to 0.3% to 0.4% in females 55 years of age or older. An HCC incidence rate of 1.1% per year was seen in noncirrhotic CHB men aged 55 or older.
Although annual HCC incidence in cirrhotic patients did not differ significantly among different age groups, rates among noncirrhotic patients were significantly higher in older patients and up to 1.1% in males above 55 years.