3Eastern Health, Department of Gastroenterology, 8 Arnold Street, Box Hill, Melbourne 3128, Australia.
Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the most prevalent liver disease in Australia and is recognised to play a role in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). There are no clear guidelines regarding screening for HCC in NAFLD. The aim of this retrospective study was to compare the characteristics and survival rates of NAFLD-HCC to patients with non-NAFLD-HCC to help guide future research in this area.
Methods: A total of 152 HCC patients with either NAFLD (n = 36) or non-NAFLD (n = 116) were retrospectively analysed from the HCC database and medical records. Chi-square and independent t-test were used to compare baseline characteristics and Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox models were used for survival analysis.
Results: Patients with NAFLD-HCC were more likely to be diagnosed due to symptoms rather than through screening, and at an older age, compared with non-NAFLD HCC. The median survival rates were lower in NAFLD-HCC (17.2 months) than in those with non-NAFLD-HCC (23.5 months).
Conclusion: There is a rise in the number of HCC cases in patients with NAFLD, and this has significant implications for hepatologists as they are presented with more advanced diseases and have poorer outcomes. Future studies on HCC will need to identify this group earlier in order to have an impact on the HCC survival rate.