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Histopathology. 1998 Feb;32(2):147-50.

Spontaneous regression of hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Medicine, Göteborg University, Sweden.



To determine the clinical and histopathological features of a case of a spontaneous regression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


HCC was found incidentally in a 73-year-old man during a laparotomy for evaluation of gastric retention. Despite no treatment being given, he improved gradually with no sign of tumour as evidenced by coeliac angiography 15 months later, as well as by explorative laparotomy after another 2 years. The patient died 15 years after the primary diagnosis of HCC, without known evidence of tumour recurrence. The patient's clinical records were reviewed, and paraffin-embedded liver tissue was re-evaluated. Both histological and immunohistochemical features were compatible with the diagnosis of a well differentiated HCC. Conceivable causes of the spontaneous regression of this and other reported cases are discussed, but the phenomenon remains enigmatic.


This case with a histologically proven HCC and a very long follow-up time confirms that spontaneous regression does occur. Since the case was found incidentally our report also implies that this may not be as rare as reported.

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