Background/aims: Histological and biochemical iron overload has been reported in non-tumoral liver of most patients presenting an hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) developed in non-cirrhotic liver (NCL). The aim of our study was to investigate HFE mutations in patients with HCC in NCL.
Methods: Thirty-five patients with HCC in NCL were included either retrospectively or prospectively. Clinical data, iron and viral status, and HFE gene mutations were compared between groups with (I+, n = 19) or without histological iron overload (I-, n = 16).
Results: Twenty per cent of patients were HBV or HCV positive. Fifty-four per cent had hepatocytic iron overload at histology. Mean hepatic iron concentration was 100.2 +/- 14.6 micromol/g in I+ versus 23.2 +/- 2.1 micromol/g in I- (p<0.001). Among the 19 I+ patients, eight mutations were found: two C282Y/C282Y, three C282Y/WT, two C282Y/H63D and one H63D/H63D. None of these mutations was found in the I- group. There was no significant difference concerning the H63D heterozygous mutation between I+ or I- patients.
Conclusions: In patients with HCC in NCL, HBV and HCV markers are rare (20%), and mild iron overload is frequent (54%). In patients with HCC in NCL and iron overload, C282Y mutations are frequent (36.8% of cases) and significantly increased (p<0.009) compared to HCC in NCL without iron overload; these mutations are mostly heterozygous. H63D heterozygosity is not associated with liver iron overload. Because of the small size of the series, HFE C282Y mutation should be investigated on a larger scale in patients with HCC in NCL with iron overload in order to confirm this association.