Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a malignant tumor that arises from hepatocytes in the liver. Hepatocellular carcinoma is relatively rare in the United States but very common in the sub-Sahara African countries and in Southeast Asia. Most cases are seen in patients over the age of 50 years, but this tumor can also occur in younger individuals and even in children. Hepatocellular carcinoma is more common in males than females and is associated with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, chronic alcohol abuse and cirrhosis. Serum elevation of alpha-fetoprotein occurs in a large percentage of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Grossly, hepatocellular carcinoma may present as a single mass, as multiple nodules, or as diffuse liver involvement. Microscopically, there is a wide range of differentiation from tumor to tumor (well differentiated to poorly differentiated tumors).