AIM: To reveal the manner of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) focusing on multicentric occurrence (MO) of HCC.
METHODS: We compared clinicopathological characteristics between patients with and without MO of HCC arising from NASH background. The clinical features were implicated with reference to the literature available.
RESULTS: MO of HCC was identified with histological proof in 4 out of 12 patients with NASH-related HCC (2 males and 2 females). One patient had synchronous MO; an advanced HCC, two well-differentiated HCCs and a dysplastic nodule, followed by the development of metachronous MO of HCC. The other three patients had multiple advanced HCCs accompanied by a well-differentiated HCC or a dysplastic nodule. Of these three patients, one had synchronous MO, one had metachronous MO and the other had both synchronous and metachronous MO. There were no obvious differences between the patients with or without MO in terms of liver function tests, tumor markers and anatomical extent of HCC. On the other hand, all four patients with MO of HCC were older than 70 years old and had the comorbidities of obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), hypertension and cirrhosis. Although these conditions were not limited to MO of HCC, all the conditions were met in only one of eight patients without MO of HCC. Thus, concurrence of these conditions may be a predisposing situation to synchronous MO of HCC. In particular, old age, T2DM and cirrhosis were suggested to be prerequisite for MO because these factors were depicted in common among two other cases with MO of HCC under NASH in the literature.
CONCLUSION: The putative predisposing factors and necessary preconditions for synchronous MO of HCC in NASH were suggested in this study. Further investigations are required to clarify the accurate prevalence and predictors of MO to establish better strategies for treatment and prevention leading to the prognostic improvement in NASH.