Hepatocellular carcinoma in the non-cirrhotic liver: a two-center experience with 19 cases
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Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of primary liver cancer and is the third cause of cancer related deaths; 80% of the HCC are associated with cirrhotic livers or chronic liver diseases, which constitute the main risk factor. Chronic inflammation, necrosis and regeneration due to these conditions produce genetic mutation and development of tumor cells. Yet, 10% develop in non-cirrhotic healthy livers without precipitating factors.
Material and methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of the characteristics and survival of patients with diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma in non-cirrhotic liver and absence of a history of liver cirrhosis or chronic liver disease undergoing surgery in two hepato-pancreato-biliary units between January 2007 and January 2016.
Results: Mean age was 65 years and 13 patients were men. Abdominal pain was the most common clinical presentation. Liver panel was normal in 60% of the cases and alpha-fetoprotein was elevated in only 16%. The diagnosis was made by imaging tests in 61% of the cases. Mean tumor size was 110.6 cm. All the patients underwent surgery. Complications were observed in 36.8% of the patients and survival at 5 years was 62.3%.
Conclusion: hepatocellular carcinoma is usually diagnosed as a large lesion in imaging tests ordered due to abdominal pain. Surgery provides curative treatment, and large resections can be safely performed, with low perioperative morbidity and mortality and low incidence of postoperative liver failure, since the liver remnant is healthy and liver function is maintained.