Chung-Hwa Park, Jin Dong Kim, Si Hyun Bae, Jong Young Choi, Seung Kew Yoon, Department of Internal Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 137-701, South Korea.
To evaluate the relationship between a positive family history of primary liver cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development in Korean HCC patients.
We studied a total of 2242 patients diagnosed with HCC between January 1990 and July 2008, whose family history of primary liver cancer was clearly described in the medical records.
Of the 2242 patients, 165 (7.4%) had a positive family history of HCC and 2077 (92.6%) did not. The male to female ratio was 3.6:1, and the major causes of HCC were chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in 75.1%, chronic hepatitis C virus infection in 13.2% and alcohol in 3.1%. The median ages at diagnosis in the positive- and negative-history groups were 52 years (range: 29-79 years) and 57 years (range: 18-89 years), respectively (P < 0.0001). Furthermore, among 1713 HCC patients with HBV infection, the number of patients under 45 years of age out of 136 patients with positive family history was 26 (19.1%), whereas those out of 1577 patients with negative family history was 197 (12.5%), suggesting that a positive family history may be associated with earlier development of HCC in the Korean population (P = 0.0028).
More intensive surveillance maybe recommended to those with a positive family history of HCC for earlier diagnosis and proper management especially when HBV infection is present.