Outcomes of curative treatment for hepatocellular cancer in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis versus hepatitis C and alcoholic liver disease


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.


Concomitant increasing incidences of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) suggest that a substantial proportion of HCC arises as a result of hepatocellular injury from NASH. The aim of this study was to determine differences in severity of liver dysfunction at HCC diagnosis and long-term survival outcomes between patients undergoing curative therapy for HCC in the background of NASH compared to hepatitis C virus (HCV) and/or alcoholic liver disease (ALD). Patient demographics and comorbidities, clinicopathologic data, and long-term outcomes among patients who underwent liver transplantation, hepatic resection, or radiofrequency ablation for HCC were reviewed. From 2000 to 2010, 303 patients underwent curative treatment of HCC; 52 (17.2%) and 162 (53.5%) patients had NASH and HCV and/or alcoholic liver disease. At HCC diagnosis, NASH patients were older (median age 65 versus 58 years), were more often female (48.1% versus 16.7%), more often had the metabolic syndrome (45.1% versus 14.8%), and had lower model for end-stage liver disease scores (median 9 versus 10) (all P < 0.05). NASH patients were less likely to have hepatic bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis (73.1% versus 93.8%; P < 0.001). After a median follow-up of 50 months after curative treatment, the most frequent cause of death was liver failure. Though there were no differences in recurrence-free survival after curative therapy (median, 60 versus 56 months; P = 0.303), NASH patients had longer overall survival (OS) (median not reached versus 52 months; P = 0.009) independent of other clinicopathologic factors and type of curative treatment. Conclusion: Patients with HCC in the setting of NASH have less severe liver dysfunction at HCC diagnosis and better OS after curative treatment compared to counterparts with HCV and/or alcoholic liver disease. (HEPATOLOGY 2012;55:1811–1821)