Hepatocellular carcinoma deaths triple in England in just 20 years

  • National Cancer Research Institute

  • curated by Dawn O'Shea
  • Medical news
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The incidence and mortality for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have tripled in England over the last 20 years, with the most deprived individuals being most at risk. The figures will be presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Glasgow this weekend.

The findings emanate from an analysis of data recorded in the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS), conducted by the hepatocellular carcinoma UK/NCRAS (HCC-UK) partnership.

HCC cases were identified using ICD10-0-2 code C22.0 and morphology code M8170. Demographic characteristics were explored and European age-standardised incidence and mortality rates per 100,000 person years calculated. Linked HES codes were used to identify the presence and severity of cirrhosis.

The data showed that 62,135 primary liver cancer cases were diagnosed in England between 1997 and 2016; 29,906 of which were HCC.

The mean age at HCC diagnosis was 68.4 years and the male to female ratio was 3.4. Overall 25% of all HCC cases were from the most deprived population quintile.

More than half (58%) of HCC cases were identified as having cirrhosis and 42% of these had decompensated cirrhosis.

The majority of HCC patients did not receive specific anticancer treatment. The most common routes to diagnosis were emergency presentation (35%) and GP referral (30%).

The authors say the data highlight the urgent need to address prevention strategies for both liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma specifically at regional and population level.