Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA; Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is currently the third leading indication for liver transplantation (LT) in the U.S. and is predicted to become the leading indication for LT in the near future. The trends in NASH-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) among LT recipients in the U.S. remain undefined. We performed a retrospective cohort study to evaluate trends in the etiology of HCC among adult LT recipients in the U.S. from 2002 to 2012, utilizing national data from the United Network for Organ Sharing registry. From 2002-2012, there were 61,868 adults who underwent LT in the U.S., including 10,061 patients HCC. The total number and proportion of HCC LT recipients demonstrated a significant increase following the implementation of the model for end stage liver disease (MELD) scoring system in 2002 (3.3%, n=143 in 2000 vs. 12.2%, n=714 in 2005 vs. 23.3%, n=1336 in 2012). The proportion of HCV-related HCC increased steadily from 2002 to 2012, and HCV remained the leading etiology of HCC throughout the MELD era (43.4% in 2002 vs. 46.3% in 2007 vs. 49.9% in 2012). NASH-related HCC also increased significantly, and NASH is the second leading etiology of HCC-related LT (8.3% in 2002 vs. 10.3% in 2007 vs. 13.5% in 2012). From 2002 to 2012, the number of patients undergoing LT for HCC secondary to NASH increased by nearly 4-fold, and the number of LT patients with HCC secondary to HCV increased by 2-fold. Conclusion: NASH is the second leading etiology of HCC leading to LT in the U.S. More importantly, NASH is currently the most rapidly growing indication for LT in patients with HCC in the U.S.