Older Age and Disease Duration Are Highly Associated with Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Patients with Autoimmune Hepatitis
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is rare in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). However, the overall burden of AIH cirrhosis in causing HCC and patients’ risk factors are not well understood.
To characterize the proportion of HCC linked to AIH at a large academic health center, and to identify variables associated with HCC in patients with AIH in a case–control study design.
Over a 14.5-year period, medical records of all patients with HCC were reviewed. Cases are AIH patients identified from the cohort, and controls are patients with AIH without HCC. Three controls were randomly chosen from the Genetic Repository of Autoimmune Liver Disease and Coexisting Exposures database for each eligible case.
Out of 1250 eligible patients, 20 were linked to AIH (1.6%). Their median age was 64 years, 40% men and 100% Caucasian. Ten percent of AIH patients did not have evidence of cirrhosis at HCC diagnosis. The proportion of HCCs due to AIH decreased during the time intervals of the study. Compared to controls, cases were more likely men (40.0% vs. 18%, p = 0.049), with longer AIH duration (median 16 years vs. 5 years, p = 0.004). Prolonged AIH duration (OR 1.68, p = 0.006) and older age (OR 1.15, p = 0.049) were risk factors for HCC.
AIH is a rare cause (1.6%) for HCC in Midwestern USA with a decreasing trend over 14.5 years. Ten percent of AIH-HCC patients did not have cirrhosis at time of HCC diagnosis. Patients with prolonged duration of the disease and older age are at high risk to develop HCC.
KeywordsLiver cancer Autoimmune liver disease Older age Disease duration
Genetic Repository of Autoimmune Liver Disease and Coexisting Exposures
Anti-smooth muscle antibodies
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Body mass index
Model for End-Stage Liver Disease
AST-to-platelet ratio index
Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Authors declare no conflicts of interest relevant for this paper.