Send to

Choose Destination
Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Oct;97(42):e12886. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000012886.

Higher age at diagnosis of hemochromatosis is the strongest predictor of the occurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma in the Swiss hemochromatosis cohort: A prospective longitudinal observational study.

Author information

Department of Endocrinology and Clinical Nutrition, University Hospital Zurich.
Department of Internal Medicine, Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich, University of Zurich.
Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich.
Department of Internal Medicine, Linth Hospital, Uznach, Switzerland.


Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) is the most common genetic disease in Caucasians which is characterized by an increased intestinal iron absorption, resulting into a progressive accumulation of iron in organs including liver, heart, and pancreas, leading to their progressive dysfunction. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a long-term complication of HH, which contributes to increased mortality.We evaluated the risk factors of HCC in a prospective cohort of Swiss hemochromatosis patients with a long-term follow-up.We included 147 patients with the mean age at diagnosis of 48 years, in whom 70% were men. Overall, 9% of the patients developed HCC during the mean follow-up time of 14 years (range 1-40 years). Patients with HCC had higher age at diagnosis (61 ± 11 vs 47 ± 13 years, P = .003), more frequently liver cirrhosis on biopsy (90% vs 37.5%, P = .004), and higher serum ferritin levels [3704 (Q1:2025, Q3:4463) vs 1338 (Q1:691, Q3:2468) μg/L, P < .001], they needed more iron removed by phlebotomy until its depletion [8.9 (Q1:7.2, Q3:10.1) vs 3.8 (Q1:1.6, Q3:8.9) g, P = .029], compared to non-HCC patients. After adjustment for possible confounders, only higher age at diagnosis remained significantly associated with HCC development (odds ratio 1.19, 95% CI 0.056-0.397, P = .001, per year).Higher age at diagnosis showed the strongest association with the occurrence of HCC in Swiss hemochromatosis patients. Patients who were diagnosed at a higher age and with a high iron overload (serum ferritin levels >1000 μg/L) require regular screening even if they have no liver cirrhosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center