Background: The epidemiology of chronic liver disease is changing with the introduction of potent antiviral therapies for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the increasing prevalence of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Aim: To establish the impact of this change on the rates and clinical patterns of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in South Australia (SA).
Methods: Newly diagnosed HCC patients from January 2014 until December 2019 from four tertiary centres in SA were included. The overall age-standardised incidence rates (ASIR) of HCC were calculated using 2016 SA population as the standard. To assess the trends, Join-Point regression models were used to calculate the average annual percentage change (AAPC). Forecasting of overall and aetiology-specific HCC from 2020 to 2024 was performed using linear regression.
Results: There were 626 new cases of HCC in SA (males 80%; median age 64 years) during the study period. There was a significant increase in NASH-related HCC (AAPC: +7.0%; P < 0.05) from 2014 to 2019. However, there were no significant differences in the ASIR for overall HCC (AAPC: −4.1%), HCV-related HCC (AAPC: −8.0%) and stage of HCC diagnosis (AAPC: +3.0%; P > 0.05). Forecasting analysis projected the decline and increase in the incidence of HCV and NASH-related HCC, respectively, over the next few years.
Conclusion: Overall ASIR of HCC has plateaued in SA. However, NASH-related HCC has increased significantly and is expected to continue to increase in the near future. Further research and intervention is required to reduce NASH-related HCC, a major contributor to the current and future burden of HCC.
- hepatitis C
- hepatocellular carcinoma
- non-alcoholic steatohepatitis