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Epidemiological characteristics of hepatocellular carcinoma in Egypt: a retrospective analysis of 1313 cases



Mohamed Omar Khalifa, Tropical Medicine Department, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

Tel: +20 2 22871187

Fax: +20 2 26820665



Background & Aims

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignant tumours worldwide. Egypt has the highest prevalence of HCV in the world and the prevalence of HCC is increasing in the last years. The aim was to study epidemiological characteristics of HCC in Egypt.


Retrospective chart review of 1456 Egyptian patients with HCC was done. Records of 1313 patients (1035 males, 278 females; median age 56 years) fulfilling diagnostic criteria for HCC were analysed for clinical, aetiological, radiological and tumour characteristics.


The majority of cases (75%) were from rural areas. The most frequent age category affected by HCC was between 51 and 60 years (45.7%); 50% of the patients reported accidental discovery of their hepatic focal lesions. The major presenting symptom was newly developed right hypochondrial pain (66.3%). HCV Ab was detected in 91.32% of the studied patients while HVB infection was reported in 2.51%. 59.3% of patients had AFP levels below 200 ng/ml (the diagnostic level). On studying tumour characteristics, the right lobe of the liver was more frequently occupied by the focal lesions (75.4%) than the left lobe (15.7%) and 12.5% of patients had bilobar affection. Five hundred and six patients (38.6%) had more than one hepatic focal lesion and 228 patients (17.4%) had tumours occupying >50% of the liver.


HCC is a major health problem in Egypt and its incidence is increasing. The high prevalence of HCV infection makes screening programmes and surveillance of those patients a very important tool to early detect cases of small HCCs.