Incidence and Determinants of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Autoimmune Hepatitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Abstract

Background & Aims

The risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is unclear. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the incidence of HCC and associated risk factors among patients with AIH.

Methods

We searched PubMed, Embase, and reference lists from relevant articles through June 2016 to identify cohort studies that examined the incidence of HCC in patients with AIH. We used random effects models to estimate pooled incidence rates overall and in subgroup of patients with cirrhosis. The between-study heterogeneity was assessed using I2 statistic.

Results

A total of 25 studies (20 papers and 5 abstracts), including 6528 patients, met the eligibility criteria. The median cohort size was 170 patients with AIH (range, 25–1721 patients), followed for a median of 8.0 years (range, 3.3–16.0 years). The pooled incidence rate for HCC in patients with AIH was 3.06 per 1000 patient-years (95% confidence interval, 2.22–4.23; I2 = 51.5%; P = .002). The pooled incidence of HCC in patients with cirrhosis at AIH diagnosis was 10.07 per 1000 patient-years (95% confidence interval, 6.89–14.70; I2 = 48.8%; P = .015). In addition, 92 of 93 patients who had HCC had evidence of cirrhosis before or at the time of their HCC diagnosis. The risk of HCC seems to be lower in patients with AIH and cirrhosis than that reported for patients with cirrhosis from hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or primary biliary cholangitis.

Conclusions

Based on the increased risked of HCC shown in this meta-analysis, there may be a role for HCC surveillance in patients with AIH and cirrhosis.

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