1 Department of Gastroenterology, Medical College of Georgia/Augusta University, Augusta, Georgia.
2 Department of Internal Medicine.
3 Quantitative Health Sciences, Cleveland Clinic.
4 Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University.
5 Departments of Gastroenterology.
6 Pathobiology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
BACKGROUND: Current guidelines recommend surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in high-risk patients. This high risk is defined by the presence of cirrhosis. However, HCC due to underlying nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), even without progressing to cirrhosis, is a rising concern. Hence, we aimed to determine the association of HCC with NASH using a large national database.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was performed using the 2012 National Inpatient Sample. The study group was all adult patients' age 18-90 years who have a diagnosis of NASH which was identified using the International Classification of Diseases 9th version (ICD-9) codes. The control group included the rest of adult individuals without discharge records of NASH. We identified the diagnosis of HCC in both study and control groups using the ICD-9 codes. We calculated the association between NASH and HCC using univariable and multivariate logistic regression.
RESULTS: Totally, 30 712 524 hospitalizations were included in our study. This cohort included 218 950 patients with NASH (study group) and 30 493 574 patients without NASH (control group). The study group patients aged 57.3 ± 0.10 years (59.4% females) comparing to 54.5 ± 0.11 years (57.1% female) in the control group. HCC prevalence in subjects with NASH was 0.50% [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.41-0.59] compared to 0.21% (95% CI: 0.20-0.23) in subjects without NASH (P < 0.001). After adjusting for age, gender, smoking, alcohol use, obesity, hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus, hemochromatosis, HIV, cirrhosis and the modified comorbidity index, subjects with NASH were 60% more likely to have HCC than those without NASH (adjusted odds ratio: 1.6, 95% CI: 1.4-1.9, P < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Our study showed that NASH patients are 60% more likely to develop HCC compared with patients without NASH. Close monitoring and even periodical surveillance might be needed.