The male–female ratio in 186 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) Chinese patients was 5:1. The clinical presentation, biochemical parameters, and histologic findings were the same in both sexes except for a higher proportion of underlying cirrhosis (P = 0.02), and spider naevi (P = 0.04) in the men. There were also more smokers and alcohol drinkers among the men. Over 75% of both sexes were positive for the hepatitis B surface antigen. The possible contributory factors to the predominance of males to females in HCC included: the association with the hepatitis B virus, the higher proportion of male cirrhotics, smoking, and alcohol drinking. The survival probability for both sexes was equally poor; the median survival was 8 weeks for males and 10 weeks for females.