Table of Contents
ISRN Oncology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 684026, 8 pages
Clinical Study

Epidemiology and Prognosis of Paraneoplastic Syndromes in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore 169608
2Gleneagles Hospital, Singapore 258500

Received 25 June 2013; Accepted 10 September 2013

Academic Editors: J. Bentel, B. Comin-Anduix, G. Metro, and C.-x. Pan

Copyright © 2013 Pik Eu Chang et al. 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.


Background. Paraneoplastic syndromes (PNS) such as hypercalcaemia, hypercholesterolaemia, and erythrocytosis have been described in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Aims. (1) To examine the prevalence, clinical characteristics, and survival of PNS in HCC patients and (2) to evaluate the extent to which each individual PNS impacts on patient survival. Methods. We prospectively evaluated the prevalence, clinical characteristics, and survival of PNS among 457 consecutive HCC patients seen in our department over a 10-year period and compared them with HCC patients without PNS. Results. PNS were present in 127 patients (27.8%). The prevalence of paraneoplastic hypercholesterolemia, hypercalcemia, and erythrocytosis 24.5%, 5.3%, and 3.9%, respectively. Patients with PNS had significantly higher alpha-fetoprotein levels, more advanced TNM stage, and shorter survival. Among the individual PNS, hypercalcemia and hypercholesterolemia were associated with more advanced disease and reduced survival but not erythrocytosis. On multivariate analysis, the presence of PNS was not found to be an independent prognostic factor for reduced HCC survival. Conclusion. PNS are not uncommon in HCC and are associated with poor prognosis and reduced survival due to their association with increased tumor burden. However, they do not independently predict poor survival. Individual PNS impact differently on HCC outcome; paraneoplastic hypercalcemia in particular is associated with poor outcome.