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Indian J Med Res. 2019 Jan;149(1):9-17. doi: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1456_17.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease associated with hepatocellular carcinoma: An increasing concern.

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Department of Radiodiagnosis, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
Department of Gastroenterology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the sixth most common cancer in world and third largest cause of cancer-related deaths. The last few decades have witnessed the emergence of non-viral causes of HCC, the most important being non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD ranges from simple steatosis in the absence of excessive alcohol intake to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with or without cirrhosis. About 3-15 per cent of the obese patients with NASH progress to cirrhosis and about 4-27 per cent of NASH with cirrhosis patients transform to HCC. It is also known that HCC can develop de novo in patients with NASH without the presence of cirrhosis. Yearly cumulative incidence of NASH-related HCC is low (2.6%) compared to four per cent of viral-HCC. NAFLD has been associated with risk factors such as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, altered gut flora and persistent inflammation. Due to alarming rise in metabolic diseases, both in the developing as well as the developed world, it is expected that the incidence of NAFLD/NASH-HCC would rise manifold in future. No definite guidelines have been drawn for surveillance and management of NAFLD/NASH-associated HCC. It is thus important to discuss the entity of HCC in NAFLD at length with special focus on its epidemiology, risk factors, pathophysiology, diagnosis, clinical presentation and prevention.


Hepatocellular carcinoma; NASH-HCC; metabolic syndrome; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

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