The team assessed whether nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) plays a role in the development of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
The findings of the study were published in the July issue of Gastroenterology.
Among 641 cirrhosis-associated HCCs, the authors retrospectively identified 44 patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis (CC).
Of these, 23 were actively followed up and were compared in a case-control study with viral- and alcohol-associated HCC.
Family and personal history of diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, dyslipidemia, obesity, and biochemical data were compared between groups.
Iron status and presence of mutations in the HFE gene of familiar hemochromatosis were also determined.
|Factors associated with HCC arising in CC:|
- Normal aminotransferases
| Gastroenterology |
Family history was not found to be different in relation to etiology.
The researchers found that the prevalence of obesity and diabetes was significantly higher in patients with CC.
Although liver function was similar, CC patients had higher glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride plasma levels, increased parameters of insulin resistance, and lower aminotransferase levels.
However, iron status and prevalence of mutations in the HFE gene did not differ.
Logistic regression analysis identified hypertriglyceridemia, diabetes, and normal aminotransferases as independent factors associated with HCC arising in CC.
Elisabetta Bugianesi, of the University of Turin, said on behalf of her colleagues, "Features suggestive of NASH are observed in HCC arising in patients with CC. These features are more common than in age- and sex-matched HCC patients of well-defined viral or alcoholic etiology."
"HCC may represent a late complication of NASH-related cirrhosis," she concluded.