Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease–Associated Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the United States

Mohammad A. Karim, Amit G. Singal, Hye Chung Kum, Yi Te Lee, Sulki Park, Nicole E. Rich, Mazen Noureddin, Ju Dong Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: The extent to which nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) contributes to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) prevalence in contemporary practices and whether there are any etiologic differences in surveillance receipt, tumor stage, and overall survival (OS) remain unclear. We aimed to estimate the burden of NAFLD-related HCC and magnitude of associations with surveillance receipt, clinical presentation, and outcomes in a contemporary HCC cohort. Methods: In a cohort of HCC patients from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results–Medicare database between 2011 and 2015, we used multivariable logistic regression to identify factors associated with surveillance receipt, early-stage tumor detection, and curative treatment. Cox regression was used to identify factors associated with OS. Results: Among 5098 HCC patients, NAFLD was the leading etiology, accounting for 1813 cases (35.6%). Compared with those with hepatitis C–related HCC, NAFLD was associated with lower HCC surveillance receipt (adjusted odds ratio, 0.22; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.17–0.28), lower early-stage HCC detection (adjusted odds ratio, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.40–0.60), and modestly worse OS (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.09–1.32). NAFLD subgroup analysis showed that early-stage HCC, absence of ascites/hepatic encephalopathy, surveillance, and curative treatment receipt were associated with improved OS. NAFLD patients with coexisting liver disease were more likely to have surveillance, early-stage detection, curative treatment, and improved OS than NAFLD patients without coexisting liver diseases. Conclusions: NAFLD is the leading etiology of HCC among Medicare beneficiaries. Compared with other etiologies, NAFLD was associated with lower HCC surveillance receipt, early-stage detection, and modestly poorer survival. Multifaceted interventions for improving surveillance uptake are needed to improve prognosis of patients with NAFLD-related HCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)670-680.e18
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Liver Cancer
  • NASH
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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