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Hepatogastroenterology. 1990 Oct;37(5):480-3.

Early diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.


We describe the results of our study on the early detection of the development of hepatocellular carcinoma among patients with chronic liver disease. Over a period of 18 years, 33 patients were diagnosed as having hepatocellular carcinoma. From 1970 to 1978, we used serum alpha-fetoprotein determination, liver palpation, and radionuclide liver scans. In addition to alpha-fetoprotein determination, computed tomography and ultrasonography were introduced in 1979. However, we did not have any general guidelines for the use of these imaging modalities. From 1984 onwards, ultrasonography and serum alpha-fetoprotein determination have been performed every three months and computed tomography every year in patients whose right hepatic lobe had atrophied due to liver cirrhosis. On the basis of this screening program, 50% of the detected hepatocellular carcinoma (9/18) were found to be smaller than 1.9 cm in diameter, and tumor resection was performed in 11 out of 18 patients (61%).

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