Aim: To assess the overall survival (OS) in those with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) diagnosed within a programmatic, centrally co-ordinated, regional screening programme. Methods: A retrospective cohort analysis of consecutive HCC patients diagnosed between 2004 and 2013. Patients were followed up till death or end of study period (30 April 2015). A dedicated screening programme was commenced in 2009 to screen high-risk patients for HCC. Primary objective is to compare the OS between HCC patients diagnosed within the screening group versus those diagnosed outside this group. Other objectives were to compare tumour stage at diagnosis and the proportion having curative treatments in the two groups. Propensity score adjustments were performed to assess the survival benefit. Results: HCC was diagnosed in 130 subjects during the study period (82.3% males, median [IQR] age 62 [± 19] years and median [IQR] follow-up of 11.3 (± 23.5) months). Ninety-six patients (73.8%) died during the follow-up, and the median (95%CI) OS was 15.7 (9.7–21.8) months. HCC diagnosed within the screening programme had a better OS compared to those diagnosed outside this programme (26.8 vs 11.5 months, p = 0.01). Further, those diagnosed within the programme had an earlier stage HCC ([58.3% vs 23.6%], Ӽ 2 = 11.3, p = 0.001), and a significant proportion were treated with curative intent ([62.5% vs 31.1%], Ӽ 2 = 8.3, p = 0.004). Propensity score adjustment showed a 58% reduction in mortality for HCC diagnosed within the screening programme (HR [95%CI] 0.42 [0.20–0.89], p = 0.02). Conclusion: A programmatic, regional HCC screening programme improved the OS and detected tumours at an earlier stage enabling more patients to have curative therapies.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Propensity scores