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Autoimmun Rev. 2002 Aug;1(4):220-5.

Primary biliary cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.

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University of Buenos Aires, Parguay 2068 PB B, Buenos Aires 1425, Argentina.


The findings by epidemiological studies on the link between PBC and HCC are in general agreement with the notion that cirrhosis is a risk factor for HCC development. From the clinical perspective, this implies that in PBC patients with cirrhosis, the screening for HCC should be considered for evaluating prognosis as well as therapeutic options. At this time, it is not possible to determine whether any PBC-specific risk factors other than cirrhosis per se exist for the development of HCC. Identification of such risk factors may point to new mechanisms involved in the carcinogenesis of HCC. In order to answer the question whether the underlying mechanisms for PBC are risk factors for HCC, more aggressive clinical studies with larger patient populations are needed. Such studies should include patients with PBC as well as patients with cirrhosis of other etiologies, both have to be carefully matched for patient characteristics including race, gender, age, disease stage and period of follow-up. On the other hand, the resolution of this issue also relies on a better understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of PBC itself.

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