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Ann Intern Med. 1989 Mar 15;110(6):489-90.

Transformation of hepatic cell adenoma to hepatocellular carcinoma due to oral contraceptive use.

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University of New Mexico, School of Medicine, Albuquerque.



Unlike the proven causal association between oral contraceptive (OC) use and hepatic cell adenoma, the link between OCs and hepatocellular carcinoma remains speculative. The case history of a 53-year-old US woman suggests, however, that hepatic cell adenomas may transform into hepatocellular carcinoma. The patient, who had used Ovral continuously since 1966, presented in 1985 with vague abdominal pain and a palpable right upper quadrant mass. Computed tomography revealed a 12 x 8 cm mass in the right hepatic lobe and 2 small lesions in the left lobe. Serum alpha-fetoprotein and ferritin levels were normal and tests for hepatitis B were negative. A needle biopsy of the right lobe mass indicated benign hepatic adenoma. OC use was discontinued and the patient was examined at bimonthly intervals. Although she continued to report vague pain, there were no significant changes in radiologic findings or levels of alpha-fetoprotein over the next 18 months. At the 18-month follow-up visit, the alpha-fetoprotein level showed an increase to 227 mcg/L and had risen to 2300 mcg/L by the 30-month follow-up visit. At this time, computed tomography showed slight enlargement of the right lobe mass and inhomogeneity, while biopsy revealed sclerosing hepatocellular carcinoma. This is the 3rd case reported in the literature in which there is evidence of a transformation of hepatic cell adenomas into hepatocellular carcinoma in longterm OC users. Thus, the premalignant potential of hepatic cell carcinomas in OC users should be considered by physicians who follow such cases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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