Hepatocellular carcinoma with steatohepatitic features: a clinicopathological study of Japanese patients

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The aim of this study was to investigate the clinicopathological significance of steatohepatitic features in hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) using a large-scale analysis.

Methods and results:

Retrospective clinicopathological analysis was performed on HCCs treated surgically at the University of Tokyo Hospital between 2005 and 2010. The diagnosis of HCC with steatohepatitic features (SH-HCC) was made if the tumour fulfilled four of the following five criteria: steatosis (>5% tumour cells), ballooning or Mallory–Denk body formation, interstitial fibrosis and inflammatory infiltrates. There were 120 HCCs (31.4%) from 106 patients (36.3%) that met the criteria of SH-HCC. Patients with SH-HCC were characterized by a higher frequency of diabetes mellitus and hypertension, along with higher serum levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, than those with conventional HCC (P < 0.01). The background liver of SH-HCC patients showed steatosis and steatohepatitis more frequently (P < 0.01). SH-HCCs were smaller, relatively more differentiated and had a higher frequency of bile duct invasion (P < 0.05). Multivariate analysis failed to show prognostic significance of steatohepatitic features in HCCs.


SH-HCC is a subcategory of HCC associated with the patient's metabolic condition and the presence of steatosis or steatohepatitis in the background liver. Steatohepatitic features were not a significant prognostic factor for HCCs.

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