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HPB Surgery
Volume 3 (1990), Issue 1, Pages 11-19

Primary Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Hospital Based Epidemiologic Study

1Department of Surgery Georgetown, University School of Medicine, USA
2M.D. 3800 Reservoir Rd NW, 4th Floor PHC Bldg, Washington DC 20007, USA

Received 10 January 1990; Accepted 18 January 1990

Copyright © 1990 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


From 1968-1985 a series of thirty-seven patients with primary hepatocellular carcinoma was collected from the tumor registry of the Fairfax County Hospital, in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. These patients were found to have a mean age at diagnosis of sixty-two (males) to sixty-six (females). Thirty per cent of patients were previously cirrhotic and nineteen per cent had a history of viral hepatitis. There were no patients with documented birth control pill or steroid use. The most common presenting symptoms were anorexia and right upper quadrant pain. Liver-spleen scan was the most commonly used diagnostic study, but by the 1980's CT scanning was usually diagnostic. Both alkaline phosphatase and serum glutamyloxalotransferase were reliably elevated in twenty-six of twenty-eight and twenty-one of twenty-four patients respectively. Forty-eight per cent of patients with tumor histology reprted had multicentric tumors, thirty-eight per cent had nodular tumors, and fourteen per cent had diffuse disease.

Survival was as dismal in this as in other studies with a mean of seventy-nine days. No significant difference was noted between cirrhotic and non-cirrhotic patients. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy did not significantly impact upon survival.

Finally, a cohort analysis was done and a possibly significant peak in incidence of primary hepatocellular carcinoma was seen in men born from about 1911 through 1920. The authors noted that these males were in the group of draft eligible persons for World War II and questioned a link between veteran status and later development of HCC.