Screening can identify early-stage HCC but benefits unclear

June 20, 2014
Screening can identify early-stage HCC but benefits unclear

(HealthDay)—For patients with chronic liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) screening can identify patients at an earlier stage, but the benefits and harms of screening are unclear, according to a study published online June 16 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Devan Kansagara, M.D., from the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Oregon, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to examine the benefits and harms of for HCC in patients with . Twenty-two studies met the inclusion criteria.

The researchers found that evidence of the effects of screening was very low strength. Based on one large trial, periodic ultrasonographic screening correlated with decreased HCC mortality (rate ratio, 0.63), but methodological flaws limited the study. No survival benefit was seen with periodic α-fetoprotein screening in a trial involving patients with hepatitis B. Based on 18 observational studies, patients that underwent screening had earlier-stage HCC than patients who were diagnosed clinically, but the effects were confounded by lead- and length-time. No survival differences were found for shorter (three- to four-month) and longer (six- to 12-month) screening intervals, based on two trials. Screening harms were poorly studied.

"Screening tests can identify early-stage HCC, but whether systematic screening leads to a survival advantage over clinical diagnosis is uncertain," the authors write.

Explore further: Screening for liver cancer in patients with cirrhosis

More information: Abstract
Full Text
Editorial

Related Stories

Screening for liver cancer in patients with cirrhosis

April 1, 2014

In a systematic review and meta-analysis of 47 studies with 15,158 patients, Amit Singal (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center) and colleagues found that patients with cirrhosis who underwent surveillance (via ...

Recommended for you

Study identifies genomic features of cervical cancer

January 23, 2017

Investigators with The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network have identified novel genomic and molecular characteristics of cervical cancer that will aid in the subclassification of the disease and may help target therapies ...

Opinion: How dangerous is burnt toast?

January 23, 2017

A new campaign is warning people that burning some food, such as toast, is a potential cancer risk. Here, the evidence for this claim is explored by David Spiegelhalter, Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.