1Department of Epidemiology, IRCCS - Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche "Mario Negri", Via G. La Masa 19, 20156 Milan, Italy. Electronic address: email@example.com.
2Department of Epidemiology, IRCCS - Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche "Mario Negri", Via G. La Masa 19, 20156 Milan, Italy. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via A. Vanzetti 5, 20133 Milan, Italy. Electronic address: email@example.com.
Primary liver cancer (namely hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC) is worldwide the fifth most common cancer in men and the seventh one in women, and it represents the third most frequent cause of cancer death. HCC rates are particularly high in eastern/south-eastern Asia and in Africa, intermediate in Southern Europe, and low in most high-income countries. Persistent infections by HBV or HCV are the main recognized risk factors for HCC. Aflatoxin exposure is also an important risk factor for HCC development in Africa and eastern Asia. In high-income countries heavy alcohol drinking, tobacco smoking, overweight, diabetes, familial/genetic factors, and selected dietary aspects, have a relevant role. Updated geographic patterns and time trends in mortality from HCC in Europe, USA, Japan, and Australia are provided in the present review, together with an overview of relevant etiologic factors for HCC and main measures for the prevention of this neoplasm.