Author(s): Okonkwo UC, Nwosu MN, Ukah C, Okpala OC, Ahaneku JI
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains the commonest malignancy of the liver. In spite of the recent advances in treatment, prognosis is still abysmal especially in developing countries. This article aims to review the clinical and pathological features of HCC in a tertiary hospital at Nnewi. METHOD: This was a cross-sectional study. Patients with HCC seen at the Medical Out-patient Department or admitted into the Medical wards of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi were recruited. The study lasted from June 2007 to May, 2008. Subjects were clinically evaluated and blood samples collected for HBsAg, anti-HCV and HBeAg assays. RESULTS: The prevalence of HCC was 2.4\%. Of the 60 patients studied, 38 were males and 22 were females with a male to female ratio of 2:1. Their ages ranged from 19-86 years with a mean age of 50.62 +/- 17.54. The mean duration of symptoms before presentation was 16 weeks and the mean duration from onset of symptoms to death is 20 weeks. Common presenting symptoms were painful right hypochondrial mass, abdominal swelling, weight loss, early satiety and fatigue while coagulopathy, ascites and hepatic encephalopathy were the most common complications. Multiple lesions affecting both lobes of the liver was seen in 48 patients on ultrasound, 36.6\% were positive for HBsAg of which 41\% were HBeAg positive. HCV antibodies were present in 8.3\% of the patients. Well differentiated HCC of the pseudo-glandular variety was the most common histological type. CONCLUSION: HCC affects middle aged Nigerians. Though well differentiated, it presents late with clinical features of advanced disease leading to death within six months. It is more often associated with chronic HBV than HCV infection.
This article was published in Niger J Med
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals