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Gastroenterology. 1988 Nov;95(5):1399-402.

Primary hepatocellular carcinoma in idiopathic hemochromatosis after reversal of cirrhosis.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.


Previous reports have emphasized the association of primary hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with idiopathic hemochromatosis with cirrhosis. In contrast, patients with idiopathic hemochromatosis without cirrhosis have no increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. Phlebotomy therapy, by preventing the accumulation of parenchymal iron and subsequent cirrhosis, is believed to prevent hepatocellular carcinoma in the precirrhotic stage of the disease. We report the case of a 67-yr-old man with a 32-yr history of idiopathic hemochromatosis complicated by cirrhosis, who had reversal of cirrhosis with phlebotomy therapy, yet developed hepatocellular carcinoma. There was no serologic or tissue evidence of hepatitis B infection.

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