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J Viral Hepat. 2012 Aug;19(8):594-600. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2893.2011.01577.x. Epub 2012 Jan 28.

Hepatocellular carcinoma screening practices and impact on survival among hepatitis B-infected Asian Americans.

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Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.


Asians Americans have a high burden of hepatitis B virus (HBV) associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HCC screening practices in this population are unknown. We aimed to investigate predictors and patterns of HCC screening and its impact on survival in HBV-infected Asian Americans. Clinical data were obtained from a retrospective cohort of 1870 HBsAg-positive Asians in San Francisco's safety net clinics. In 824 patients at-risk for HCC, screening (≥1 imaging and/or AFP per year) decreased from 67% to 47% to 24% from the 1st to 2nd to 10th year after HBV diagnosis, respectively. AFP, imaging, and imaging plus AFP were used in 37%, 14%, and 49% during the first year after diagnosis, and imaging plus AFP increased to 64% by the 10th year. Among 1431 patients followed in 2007, age 40-64 years, female gender, cirrhosis, hepatologist evaluation, HBV diagnosis after 2003, and testing for HBeAg were associated with HCC screening. Of the 51 patients with HCC, more cirrhotics received screening and were diagnosed with early stage disease. Median survival following HCC diagnosis was higher in screened patients (1624 days vs. 111 days, P = 0.02). MELD score at HCC diagnosis (HR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1-1.3) and receipt of curative therapy (HR 0.3, 95% CI 0.08-0.94) were associated with survival. Screening rates in at-risk Asian Americans, particularly among noncirrhotics, were suboptimal and decreased over time. Among patients with HCC, receipt of prior screening improved survival, and this survival benefit was related to better liver function at HCC diagnosis and receipt of curative therapy.

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