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Hepat Mon. 2013 May 8;13(5):e7612. doi: 10.5812/hepatmon.7612. Print 2013 May.

Clinical characteristics of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma in a middle eastern population.

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Department of Medicine, Liver Disease Research Center, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.



Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the leading causes of death in Saudi male patients. Local clinical and demographic data of this disease are scarce.


We sought to describe the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients from two tertiary care centers in Saudi Arabia.


Data were collected for all patients diagnosed to have hepatocellular carcinoma between June 2003 and July 2008 who had been registered in a special research database (the Saudi Observatory Liver Disease Registry (SOLID)). Data were extracted from SOLID for clinical, biochemical, radiologic parameters and outcome.


Data was available for 363 patients, the mean age of diagnosis was 66 years, 74% of patients were males, and Hepatitis C was the underlying cause of liver disease in 48%, while Hepatitis B in 29%. Most of the patients were diagnosed at an advanced stage, 53 % of patients had a CLIP score of 4 to 6 (advanced stage), 55% had large multi-nodular tumors and 16% had vascular invasion or extra-hepatic spread at the time of diagnosis. Most of the patients had decompensated cirrhosis; with child-pogh score B in 44% and C in 26% with presence of portal hypertension in 55%. Forty eight percent died during the study period. Predictors of poor survival in the univariate analysis were; presence of portal vein thrombosis (P = 0.03), portal hypertension (P < 0.0001), presence of ascites (P = 0.022), hepatic encephalopathy (P < 0.0001), advanced child-pough score (P < 0.0001), bilirubin > 22 (P < 0.0001) and INR > 1.2 (P = 0.02). On multivariate analysis, only the presence of portal hypertension, bilirubin > 22 and severe hepatic encephalopathy were significant with adjusted hazard ratio of 1.6 (95% CI; 1.04-2.47), 1.76 (95% CI; 1.12-2.8), and 3.18 (95% CI; 1.42-7.14) respectively.


The data from this cohort indicates that most of patients diagnosed with HCC present at late tumor and liver disease stages, when prognosis is usually dismal. Regular cancer surveillance in cirrhotic patients might change the outcomes. Further studies with results of treatment outcomes in this community are needed.


Alpha-Fetoproteins; Carcinoma, Hepatocellular; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Saudi Arabia

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