Factors that Affect the Surveillance and Late-Stage Detection of a Newly Diagnosed Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Hatyai Hospital, Songkhla, Thailand.

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Hatyai Hospital, Songkhla, Thailand.


Background: Surveillance of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is beneficial for detecting early-stage HCC. The factors that influence adherence to HCC surveillance and late-stage detection have never been evaluated. We investigated the predictive factors that contribute to patients accessing regular HCC surveillance and their association with the detection of late-stage HCC at the time of diagnosis. Methods: We conducted a prospective observational study at Hatyai Hospital (Songkhla, Thailand) between 2014 and 2016. HCC surveillance includes performing hepatic ultrasonography with/without serum alpha-fetoprotein 6–12 months before the detection of HCC. Logistic regression analyses were conducted separately to examine the relationship between the variables and each endpoint. Results: One hundred ninety-nine HCC patients were enrolled in the study; most patients were of low socioeconomic status, 90.5% had less than a bachelor’s degree, and 69.3% of patients had a monthly income of <10,000 baths (US $312.50). Nearly all (93.5%) patients had cirrhosis, 39.7% had hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, 24.6% had hepatitis C virus infection, and 24.6% had alcohol-related liver disease. The risk of HCC was recognized in 51.8% of patients, and regular HCC surveillance was achieved in 36.2% of patients. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that a monthly income >10,000 baths (US $312.50) (odds ratio [OR], 4.566; p = 0.013), HBV infection (OR, 0.188; p = 0.001), and recognition of patients at risk of HCC (OR, 130.396; p<0.001) were independent predictive factors for adherence to HCC surveillance. Regular HCC surveillance (OR, 0.215; p = 0.003) and recognition of HBV infection (OR, 0.356; p = 0.040) were independent preventive factors for the detection of late-stage HCC at the time of diagnosis. Conclusion: In Thailand, awareness of patients at risk of developing HCC and the rate of regular HCC surveillance are low. Greater awareness will enable physicians to surveil and detect HCC.


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