- 1Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.
Overdiagnosis refers to detection of disease that would not otherwise become clinically apparent during a patient's lifetime. Overdiagnosis is common and has been reported for several cancer types, although there are few studies describing its prevalence in HCC surveillance programs. Overdiagnosis can have serious negative consequences including overtreatment and associated complications, financial toxicity, and psychological harms related to being labeled with a cancer diagnosis. Overdiagnosis can occur for several different reasons including inaccurate diagnostic criteria, detection of premalignant or very early malignant lesions, detection of indolent tumors, and competing risks of mortality. The risk of overdiagnosis is partly mitigated, albeit not eliminated, by several guideline recommendations, including definitions for the at-risk population in whom surveillance should be performed, surveillance modalities, surveillance interval, recall procedures, and HCC diagnostic criteria. Continued research is needed to further characterize the burden and trends of overdiagnosis as well as identify strategies to reduce overdiagnosis in the future.