Department of Internal Medicine, Santa Croce Hospital, 12100 Cuneo, Piedmont, Italy. email@example.com
To analyze the epidemiology, clinical characteristics, treatment patterns and outcome in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients.
We analyzed clinical, pathological and therapeutic data from 256 consecutive patients, examined at S. Croce Hospital in Cuneo-Piedmont, with a diagnosis of HCC between 30(th) June 2000 and 1(st) July 2010. We analyzed the hospital imaging database and examined all medical records, including the diagnosis code for HCC (155.0 according to the ICD-9M classification system), both for inpatients and outpatients, and discovered 576 relevant clinical records. After the exclusion of reports relating to multiple admissions for the same patient, we identified 282 HCC patients. Moreover, from this HCC series, we excluded 26 patients: 1 patient because of an alternative final diagnosis, 8 patients because of a lack of complete clinical data in the medical record and 17 patients because they were admitted to different health care facilities, leaving 256 HCC patients. To highlight possible changes in HCC patterns over the ten-year period, we split the population into two five-year groups, according to the diagnosis period: 30(th) June 2000-30(th) June 2005 and 1(st) July 2005-1(st) July 2010. Patients underwent a 6-mo follow up.
Two hundred and fifty-six HCC patients were included (male/female 182/74; mean age 70 years), 133 in the first period and 123 in the second. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was the most common HCC risk factor (54.1% in the first period, 50.4% in the second; P = 0.63); in the first period, 21.8% of patients were alcoholics and 15.5% were alcoholics in the second period (P > 0.05); the non-viral/non-alcoholic etiology rate was 3.7% in the first period and 20.3% in the second period (P < 0.001). Child class A patients increased significantly in the second period (P < 0.001). Adjusting for age, gender and etiology, there was a significant increase in HCC surveillance during the second period (P = 0.01). Differences between the two periods were seen in tumor parameters: there was an increase in the number of unifocal HCC patients, from 53 to 69 (P = 0.01), as well as an increase in the number of cases where the HCC was < 3 cm [from 22 to 37 (P = 0.01)]. The combined incidence of stage Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer 0 (very-early) and A (early) HCC was 46 (34.6%) between 2000-2005, increasing to 62 (50.4%) between 2005-2010 (P = 0.01). Of the patients, 62.4% underwent specific treatment in the first group, which increased to 90.2% in the second group (P < 0.001). Diagnosis period (P < 0.01), Barcelona-Clinic Liver Cancer stage (P < 0.01) and treatment per se (P < 0.05) were predictors of better prognosis; surveillance was not related to survival (P = 0.20).
This study showed that, between 2000-2005 and 2005-2010, the number of HCV-related HCC decreased, non-viral/non alcoholic etiologies increased and of surveillance programs were more frequently applied.