Aetiological differences in demographical, clinical and pathological characteristics of hepatocellular carcinoma in The Gambia

Nsikak J. Umoh, Olufunmilayo A. Lesi, Maimuna Mendy, Ebrima Bah, Aliu Akano, Hilton Whittle, Pierre Hainaut, Gregory D. Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignancies worldwide, with a high burden in West Africa. Data evaluating aetiological differences in HCC presentation from this region are limited.Aims: The aim of this study was to describe the demographical, clinical and pathological characteristics of HCC by aetiology (hepatitis B or C infection, aflatoxin associated).Methods: One hundred and ninty-three cases of HCC diagnosed between 1997 and 2001 in The Gambia were analysed. Characteristics were compared by aetiology using χ2-tests, student t-test and Wilcoxon's rank sum tests as appropriate.Results: The prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen, hepatitis C antibody and aflatoxin-associated 249serTP53 mutations among HCC patients was 60, 20 and 38% respectively. The typical HCC patient was a 49-year-old male positive for hepatitis B surface antigen presenting with hepatomegaly (93%), abdominal pain (94%) and weight loss (95%) 8 weeks after symptom onset. Most patients had multifocal lesions with background cirrhosis. The median largest tumour was 10.3 cm and the median α-fetoprotein level was 500 ng/ml. Eighty-four per cent of patients had advanced HCC (patients not meeting the Milan criteria) at presentation.Conclusions: Irrespective of aetiological agent, HCC among West Africans presents at very advanced stages. Few clinical or pathological differences exist by aetiology. More studies are needed to understand the mechanisms of hepatocarcinogenesis among these patients as well as identify high-risk populations in which early detection through screening will be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalLiver International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Aflatoxin
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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