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World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Dec 21;19(47):8808-21. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i47.8808.

Surveillance for early diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma: how best to do it?

Author information

1
Edoardo G Giannini, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Unità di Gastroenterologia, Università di Genova, IRCCS-Azienda Ospedaliera San Martino-IST, 16155 Genova, Italy.

Abstract

Surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is considered a standard of care for patients with chronic liver disease who are at risk of developing this malignancy. Several studies have shown that surveillance can improve the prognosis of patients diagnosed with HCC through an increased likelihood of application of curative or effective treatments. Repetition of liver ultrasonography (US) every 6 mo is the recommended surveillance program to detect early HCCs, and a positive US has to entrain a well-defined recall policy based on contrast-enhanced, dynamic radiological imaging or biopsy for the diagnosis of HCC. Although HCC fulfills the accepted criteria regarding cost-effective cancer screening and surveillance, the implementation of surveillance in clinical practice is defective and this has a negative impact on the cost-effectiveness of the procedure. Education of both physicians and patients is of paramount importance in order to improve the surveillance application and its benefits in patients at risk of HCC. The promotion of specific educational programs for practitioners, clinicians and patients is instrumental in order to expand the correct use of surveillance in clinical practice and eventually improve HCC prognosis.

KEYWORDS:

Cost-effectiveness; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Screening; Surveillance; Ultrasonography

PMID:
24379604
PMCID:
PMC3870532
DOI:
10.3748/wjg.v19.i47.8808
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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