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Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2013 Dec;27(6):961-72. doi: 10.1016/j.bpg.2013.08.021. Epub 2013 Oct 4.

Cost-effectiveness of liver cancer screening.

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  • 1General Surgery and Transplant Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences - DIMEC, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Via Massarenti n° 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy. Electronic address:


Screening for primary liver cancer means surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which is one of the most common cancers worldwide. Detection of HCC for curative treatment is increased by surveillance, but target population, optimal periodicity and cost-effectiveness aspects are still debated issues. The aim of surveillance is to obtain a reduction in HCC-related mortality and this is usually achieved through an early diagnosis that increases both applicability and cost-effectiveness of curative treatments. The aim of the present review is to analyse economic aspects of HCC surveillance. Articles that assessed cost-effectiveness of surveillance for HCC, published between 1996 and February 2013, were reviewed in order to verify the cost-effectiveness of surveillance, its optimal periodicity, the target population and the role of alternative surveillance strategies. International guidelines are currently based on the results of such cost-effectiveness analyses, highlighting the importance of the release of cost-effectiveness-guided guidelines for HCC management.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Cirrhosis; Cost-benefit; Cost-effectiveness; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Liver cancer; Prevention & control; Screening; Surveillance

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