Hepatocellular carcinoma in adult thalassemia patients: an expert opinion based on current evidence

Alessandra Mangia, Davide Bellini, Umberto Cillo, Andrea Laghi, Giuseppe Pelle, Vanna Maria Valori, Eugenio Caturelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Beta-thalassemia represents a heterogeneous group of haemoglobin inherited disorders, among the most common genetic diseases in the world, frequent in the Mediterranean basin. As beta-thalassemia patients' survival has increased over time, previously unknown complications are observed with increasing frequency. Among them, an increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been registered. Our aim is to reduce inequalities in diagnosis and treatment and to offer patients univocal recommendations in any institution.The members of the panel - gastroenterologists, radiologists, surgeons and oncologists -were selected on the basis of their publication records and expertise. Thirteen clinical questions, derived from clinical needs, and an integration of all the committee members' suggestions, were formulated. Modified Delphi approach involving a detailed literature review and the collective judgement of experts, was applied to this work.Thirteen statements were derived from expert opinions' based on the current literature, on recently developed reviews and on technological advancements. Each statement is discussed in a short paragraph reporting the current key evidence. As this is an emerging issue, the number of papers on HCC in beta-thalassemia patients is limited and based on anecdotal cases rather than on randomized controlled studies. Therefore, the panel has discussed, step by step, the possible differences between beta-thalassemia and non beta-thalassemia patients. Despite the paucity of the literature, practical and concise statements were generated.This paper offers a practical guide organized by statements describing how to manage HCC in patients with beta-thalassemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Gastroenterology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 3 2020


  • Beta-thalassemia
  • HBV
  • HCC
  • HCV
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Iron overload
  • OLT
  • TARE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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