Ethnic differences in the behavior of hepatocellular carcinoma

Philip L. Chin, David Z.J. Chu, Ken G. Clarke, Tamara Odom-Maryon, Yun Yen, Lawrence D. Wagman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND. The purpose of this study was to examine the clinical presentation, prognostic factors, and survival rates of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to examine differences between Asian and non-Asian patients with HCC. METHODS. A review of the clinical characteristics and laboratory evaluations for 76 patients in two different broad ethnic groups (Asians [Group 1] and non-Asians [Group 2]) who underwent treatment for HCC from 1977-1995 was performed. Chi-square and Cox regression analyses were performed to assess factor interaction and association with survival. RESULTS. A total of 24 patients in Group 1 and 52 patients in Group 2 were reviewed. Of the clinical variables examined, a higher rate of a history of hepatitis B positivity was observed in Group 1 compared with Group 2 (32% vs. 6%; P = 0.001). Among the 76 patients with HCC, a 1-year survival estimate of 41.4% was found. There was a borderline significant difference in survival between Group 1 and Group 2 with a 1-year survival estimate of 29.5% versus 46.9%, respectively (P = 0.08). Better overall survival was found in patients who had tumors that were resectable (P = 0.0001), had an α- fetoprotein level < 10 ng/mL (P = 0.02), or were a younger age at the time of diagnosis (P = 0.01). There was a trend for Asian race (P = 0.08) to be associated with poorer survival. When these risk factors were entered into a multivariate analysis, tumor resectability and non-Asian race were most predictive of improved survival (model P value = 0.007). When controlling for the multiple variables most often reported to be associated with HCC, Asians had a significantly lower survival than non-Asians (P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS. In this study it appears that the outcome for Asian patients with hepatoma is worse than for non-Asian patients, even when controlling for factors commonly associated with HCC. Biologic or social factors that are not appreciated currently may be involved in Asian patients with HCC, contributing to a poorer clinical outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1931-1936
Number of pages6
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 1 1999


  • Asian race
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Prognostic features
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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