BMJ Open Gastroenterol 2016 25;3(1):e000107. Epub 2016 Jul 25.
Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology , Stanford University Medical Center , Palo Alto, California , USA.
Background: Although sex differences in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) risk are well known, it is unclear whether sex differences also exist in clinical presentation and survival outcomes once HCC develops.
Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of 1886 HCC patients seen in a US medical centre in 1998-2015. Data were obtained by chart review with survival data also by National Death Index search.
Results: The cohort consisted of 1449 male and 437 female patients. At diagnosis, men were significantly younger than women (59.9±10.7 vs 64.0±11.6, p<0.0001). Men had significantly higher rates of tobacco (57.7% vs 31.0%, p<0.001) and alcohol use (63.2% vs 35.1%, p<0.001). Women were more likely to be diagnosed by routine screening versus symptomatically or incidentally (65.5% vs 58.2%, p=0.03) and less likely to present with tumours >5 cm (30.2% vs 39.8%, p=0.001). Surgical and non-surgical treatment utilisation was similar for both sexes. Men and women had no significant difference in median survival from the time of diagnosis (median 30.7 (range=24.5-41.3) vs 33.1 (range=27.4-37.3) months, p=0.84). On multivariate analysis, significant predictors for improved survival included younger age, surgical or non-surgical treatment (vs supportive care), diagnosis by screening, tumour within Milan criteria and lower Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score, but not female sex (adjusted HR=1.01, CI 0.82 to 1.24, p=0.94).
Conclusions: Although men have much higher risk for HCC development, there were no significant sex differences in disease presentation or survival except for older age and lower tumour burden at diagnosis in women. Female sex was not an independent predictor for survival.