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Keywords:

  • hepatoma;
  • hypercholesterolaemia;
  • paraneoplastic syndromes.

ABSTRACT

Ninety-one (11.4%) subjects with hypercholesterolaemia (serum cholesterol level more than 250 mg/dL) of 792 Chinese patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were studied in Taiwan. All 91 patients had large tumours greater than 7 cm in diameter and a tumour volume greater than 50%; 56 (61%) of these patients manifested tumour involvement in both lobes of the liver. The HCC patients with hypercholesterolaemia had significantly higher mean serum levels of albumin, triglyceride and α-fetoprotein (AFP) compared with age-sex-tumour volume matched HCC patients without hypercholesterolaemia. The associated incidence of hypoglycaemia in hypercholesterolaemic HCC patients was significantly higher than in HCC patients without hypercholesterolaemia (15/90 vs 4/90; P= 0.01). There was no significant difference in the survival analysis between HCC patients with and without hypercholesterolaemia. Eight and 11 of hypercholesterolaemic HCC patients had their tumours surgically resected and received transcatheter hepatic arterial chemoembolization (TAE), respectively. Serum cholesterol levels fell to the normal range after treatment and rose to abnormal levels again when tumours recurred after surgery or progressively enlarged after TAE. The change in pattern of serum cholesterol was parallel to the change in serum AFP. Serum cholesterol levels may serve as another marker in identifying tumour recurrence and the presence of a viable tumour mass in hypercholesterolaemic HCC patients who have received surgical resection or TAE.