Metabolic factors affecting hepatocellular carcinoma in steatohepatitis

Ali Zarrinpar, Claire M. Faltermeier, Vatche G. Agopian, Bita V. Naini, Michael P. Harlander-Locke, Fady M. Kaldas, Douglas G. Farmer, Ronald W. Busuttil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: With the rising prevalence of alcoholism, obesity and metabolic syndrome, steatohepatitis will become the leading cause of end-stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma in the United States by 2025. Patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and alcoholic liver disease have similar clinical and histopathological presentations, whether these similarities persist in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and alcoholic liver disease patients with hepatocellular carcinoma remains unknown. Methods: A retrospective analysis of the clinical features of adult patients from a large transplant center who underwent liver transplantation for steatohepatitis due to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and alcoholic causes (alcoholic liver disease) between 1/1/02 and 1/1/12 was performed. Clinical features, explant histopathology, and clinical outcomes were compared. Results: Hepatocellular carcinoma was present in 80 of 317 patients, who underwent liver transplantation for steatohepatitis with equivalent distribution in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and alcoholic liver disease patients (24% vs 26%; P = 0.8). On multivariate analysis, significant predictors of hepatocellular carcinoma included age, ethnicity (Hispanic), and diabetes, but not BMI, hypertension or smoking. A lower risk of hepatocellular carcinoma was associated with a clinical history of hyperlipidemia. Clinical parameters were similar between patients with alcoholic liver disease - hepatocellular carcinoma and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis-hepatocellular carcinoma, except sex and presence of metabolic syndrome. non-alcoholic steatohepatitis-hepatocellular carcinoma livers retained histopathological features of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis such as ballooning and Mallory bodies, while alcoholic liver disease-hepatocellular carcinoma livers did not. There were no significant differences in hepatocellular carcinoma recurrence rates or post-transplant overall survival. Conclusions: We report the largest single-center study evaluating clinical, histopathological and outcome measures of patients undergoing liver transplantation for steatohepatitis. Older patients, diabetics, and Hispanics may warrant more frequent cancer screening due to increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-539
Number of pages9
JournalLiver International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • alcoholic liver disease
  • fatty liver disease
  • liver cancer
  • liver transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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