Decreasing role of HCV and HBV infections as aetiological factors of hepatocellular carcinoma in Italy

Pier Luigi Almasio, Mariantonietta Pisaturo, Tommaso Stroffolini, Caterina Furlan, Caterina Sagnelli, Sergio Babudieri, Filomena Morisco, Maurizio Russello, Mario Pirisi, Evangelista Sagnelli, Antonina Smedile

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The epidemiology of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is characterized by a dynamical temporal trend of well-established and emerging risk factors. Methods: We evaluated the temporal trend of aetiological factors of HCC over the last two decades in Italy. HCC cases were recruited from two previously published national studies in 1996 and in 2008 and HCC cases were also enlisted from two national surveys in 2001 and in 2014 enrolling consecutive subjects with chronic liver disease (CLD) referring to more than 80 liver units scattered all over the country for a 6-monthperiod. Results: Out of the 9997 subjects with CLD recruited in 2001 and the 2408 recruited in 2014, 3.3% and 5.7% (P < 0.001), respectively, had HCC. The temporal trend of HBsAg −/HCV + HCC cases significantly linearly decreased from 71.1% in 1996 to 57.2% in 2014 (P < 0.001). Conversely, that of virus-negative cases significantly linearly increased from 12.1% to 28.3% (P < 0.001). The proportion of HBV-related HCC cases showed a steady low rate, reflecting the reduced endemicity of the infection in Italy. The proportion of HCC with compensated cirrhosis (i.e., Child–Pugh A) linearly increased over time from 55.6% in 1996 to 76.0% in 2014 (P < 0.001) reflecting the growing effectiveness of semi-annual ultrasound surveillance for early detection of HCC. Conclusion: In conclusion, with decreasing viral aetiology, an overall decrease in the incidence of HCC might be expected in the future. The proportion of metabolic diseases is conversely increasing being considered as an aetiology. The growing prevalence of metabolic disorders in the general population may further increase this trend in the years to come.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-810
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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