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Ann Surg. 1995 Mar;221(3):308-14.

Age-related, different clinicopathologic features of hepatocellular carcinoma patients.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Sapporo-Kosei General Hospital, Japan.



The authors attempted to clarify the clinicopathologic differences of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients, according to age distribution, and to investigate whether these differences contribute a certain hepatocarcinogenesis.


Hepatitis-associated viruses causing HCC have been investigated, and the infection of the viruses and etiologically, the peak age of the disease vary according to geographic barriers. However, a correlation between clinicopathologic differences and the age distribution of the patients is not well understood.


The authors reviewed their institutional experience from 1978 to 1990 in treating 428 patients with HCC. The carrier rate for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), the frequency of occurrence of high serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) of 2000 ng/mL, the degree of liver damage represented by the retention rate of indocyanine green dye at 15 minutes (ICGR15), and the incidence of accompanying liver cirrhosis were investigated and compared in each decade of age.


The HBsAg carrier rate and the frequency of high serum AFP values were significantly prominent in the younger patients (20-49 yrs). The degree of liver damage and the incidence of liver cirrhosis were prominent in the elderly patients (older than 70 yrs) or the middle-aged patients (50-69 yrs); however, these four values in the middle-aged patients were intermediate with respect to those observed in the other two age groups. In addition, there was a positive correlation between the HBsAg carrier rate and the frequency of high serum AFP values or between the degree of liver damage represented by ICGR15 and the incidence of liver cirrhosis, showing that the former correlation was inversely related to the latter.


The authors' study indicates that there are age-related differences of clinicopathologic features in HCC patients, suggesting that there are different steps or mechanisms of hepatocarcinogenesis according to the patient's age-distribution.

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