Background: The prevalence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is increasing worldwide and it is now the third most common cause of cancer-related death. HCC is becoming a major health burden with steadily increasing incidence globally. Methods: This is an observational study over a 3-year period in a tertiary care center in India. Three hundred and thirty-nine patients diagnosed to have HCC were included in this study. Patients’ clinical, etiological, radiological and cytohistological data and therapy offered were recorded and analyzed. Results: Cirrhosis of the liver was seen in 73.2% of the patients. 16.8% of patients were asymptomatic at the time of presentation. Ascites (57.2%) and jaundice (22.4%) were the most common signs of hepatic decompensation. The most common etiology of HCC was cryptogenic/non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in 51% of the patients, while hepatitis B and C were seen in 17.4% and 5.8% of the patients, respectively. Advanced and end-stage disease with Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stages C and D were seen in 62.4% of patients. 56.6% had Albumin-bilirubin (ALBI) score of 2, while 62.8% had Okuda stage II disease. High alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels (>400 ng/mL) were seen in 48.9% of patients. Macrovascular invasion and metastases were seen in 45.9% and 22.2% of the patients, respectively. 17.6% of patients had evidence of tumor thrombus. 14.5% of biopsy specimens showed associated steatosis/steatohepatitis along with confirmation of HCC. Only 26.6% of the cirrhotic HCC patients were diagnosed during surveillance. Conclusions: HCC due to unknown cause/NAFLD appears to be overtaking hepatitis B as the commonest cause for HCC. Despite the advances in diagnostic methods and surveillance, most cases of HCC tend to be diagnosed at advanced stages.
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