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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006 Sep;4(9):1170-6. Epub 2006 Aug 2.

Impact of surveillance on survival of patients with initial hepatocellular carcinoma: a study from Japan.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Ogaki Municipal Hospital, Ogaki, Japan.



We investigated trends in the prediagnostic surveillance of patients in whom hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was diagnosed, and evaluated the impact of these trends on early detection of HCC and on patient survival.


We evaluated 1641 patients in whom HCC initially was diagnosed during the period of 1968 to 2004. Patients were grouped by the year of diagnosis: 1968-1980 (n = 151), 1981-1990 (n = 409), 1991-2000 (n = 754), and 2001-2004 (n = 324). They also were classified according to whether they were in surveillance and its context before the diagnosis of HCC: patients undergoing follow-up evaluation in our center (group A), those followed up and referred by a primary care physician (group B), and those not in surveillance (group C).


The percentage of patients in groups A and B increased markedly over time. Early stage HCC was significantly more prevalent in groups A and B than in group C, and the frequency of early stage HCC increased sequentially. The patient survival rate was highest in group A, followed by that in groups B and C in that order; patient survival improved sequentially.


The percentage of patients undergoing in-center surveillance or referred by a primary care physician increased, resulting in increased early detection of HCC and improved patient survival.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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