In this study, physicians from Hong Kong compared the clinico-pathological features of hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma in young and old patients.
The team assessed 1863 consecutive patients (121 patients were 40 years of age, 1742 patients were over 40) seen at a single institution over a 13 year period.
The team found that young patients presented more frequently with pain, hepatomegaly, and ruptured hepatocellular carcinoma. The older patients presented with ankle edema, ascites and by routine screening.
|Surgical resection rates were similar between the 2 groups.|
|Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics|
Liver function, Child-Pugh grading and indocyanine green test were better preserved in young patients. They also had a higher alpha-fetoprotein concentration, larger tumor size, and more frequent metastasis.
The team determined that surgical resection rates were similar between the 2 groups (34% versus 28%).
There was also no difference between the 2 groups in the overall post-resection survival rate.
However, young patients with unresectable disease tended to have shorter survival.
Dr Lam and colleagues concluded, "Young patients with hepatocellular carcinoma often show a later presentation, but a higher resectability rate and similar survival rates, than old patients".
"The screening program should include young hepatitis B virus carriers, even in the absence of cirrhosis".