Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Survival Among Patients With Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the United States: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Nicole E. Rich, Christian Carr, Adam C. Yopp, Jorge A. Marrero, Amit G. Singal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fastest rising cause of cancer-related death in the United States; however, HCC incidence and mortality are not equally distributed among racial and ethnic groups. Our aim was to characterize the direction and magnitude of racial and ethnic disparities in overall survival and early tumor detection among patients with HCC. Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane databases from inception through August 2020 for studies reporting HCC outcomes (early stage presentation and overall survival) by race and ethnicity. We calculated pooled hazard ratios (HRs) and odds ratios (ORs) for each racial and ethnic group (White, Black, Hispanic, Asian) using the DerSimonian and Laird method for a random-effects model. Results: We identified 35 articles comprising 563,097 patients (53.0% White, 17.3% Black, 18.4% Hispanic, 5.0% Asian). Compared with White patients, Black patients had worse survival (pooled HR 1.08; 95% CI, 1.05 – 1.12), whereas Hispanic (pooled HR 0.92; 95% CI, 0.87 – 0.97) and Asian (pooled HR 0.81; 95% CI, 0.73 – 0.88) patients had better survival. Among articles reporting tumor stage (n = 20), Black patients had lower odds of early stage HCC compared with White patients (OR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.54 – 0.78). Conversely, there was no difference in odds of early HCC detection for Asian (OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.97 – 1.05) or Hispanic patients (OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.74 – 1.01) compared with White patients. The most common limitation of studies was risk of residual confounding from socioeconomic status and liver dysfunction. Conclusions: There are significant racial and ethnic disparities in HCC prognosis in the United States, with Black patients having worse overall survival and Hispanic and Asian patients having better overall survival compared with White patients. Interventions are needed to reduce disparities in early HCC detection to improve HCC prognosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e267-e288
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • disparities
  • ethnicity
  • liver cancer
  • race
  • survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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