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Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology:
doi: 10.1097/01.mcg.0000225675.14594.d6
Liver, Pancreas, and Biliary Tract: Clinical Research

Surveillance Program for Early Detection of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Japan: Results of Specialized Department of Liver Disease

Ando, Eiji MD*; Kuromatsu, Ryoko MD*; Tanaka, Masatoshi MD; Takada, Akio MD*; Fukushima, Nobuyoshi MD*; Sumie, Shuji MD*; Nagaoka, Sakae MD*; Akiyoshi, Jyunji MD*; Inoue, Kinya MD*; Torimura, Takuji MD*; Kumashiro, Ryukichi MD*; Ueno, Takato MD; Sata, Michio MD*

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Abstract

Objective: Surveillance of cirrhotic patients enables early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and possibly prolongs survival. The aim of this study was to explore whether early-stage HCC can be detected earlier at a specialized department of liver disease than in other institutions.

Methods: The study subjects were 574 patients with HCC. Patients were subdivided into 3 groups according to the manner of HCC detection: group A, HCC was detected in 91 patients during periodic examination at Kurume University School of Medicine; group B, HCC was detected in 301 patients during periodic examination at other institutions; group C, HCC was detected incidentally or because of symptoms in 182 patients.

Results: The HCC detected in group A was significantly of smaller size (20.4 mm) compared with groups B (27.1 mm, P<0.0001) and C (57.8 mm, P<0.0001). The frequency of receiving treatment (surgery or local ablation therapy) was significantly higher in group A (73%) than in groups B (52%, P=0.002) and C (26%, P<0.0001). The 5-year survival rates were 52% for group A, 40% for group B, and 23% for group C, respectively. The survival of group A was significantly better than that of groups B (P=0.0157) and C (P<0.0001).

Conclusions: Surveillance for HCC at specialized Department of Liver Disease can detect early-stage HCC, resulting in a higher chance of receiving promising treatment.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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