Screening for cancer in viral hepatitis

M. Colombo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Early diagnosis of HCC is possible because certain risk factors for this tumor are known and because sensitive and relatively inexpensive diagnostic tools are available. Early diagnosis of HCC is also possible because of the long phase of asymptomatic tumor growth and the tumor's tendency to grow as a solitary mass in many patients. In two consensus development conferences held in Anchorage, Alaska 37 and in Milan, Italy, 10 chronic carriers of HBsAg, patients with cirrhosis, patients with rare metabolic liver diseases, and individuals with family histories of HCC were identified as patients at high risk for HCC and therefore as candidates for periodic screening. At the Anchorage conference, it was recommended that healthy carriers have at least yearly determinations of serum AFP and that carriers with additional risk factors (e.g., cirrhosis) be screened every 6 months by abdominal US scans and determination of serum AFP levels. No specific recommendations were released for HBsAg-negative patients with chronic liver disease. At the Milan conference, it was recommend that patients with cirrhosis or with certain congenital metabolic conditions known to be at risk for HCC should be screened by AFP determination and US scan twice a year. It was also recommended that HBsAg carriers older than 35 years or with family histories of HCC should be screened for HCC by determinations of serum AFP levels and aminotransferase levels once a year.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-122
Number of pages14
JournalClinics in Liver Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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