Liver cancer in Korea

Hepatol Res. 2007 Sep;37 Suppl 2:S106-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1872-034X.2007.00171.x.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly malignant cancer and third major cause of death in Korean. It is more prevalent among men in the sixth to seventh decades. HCC is particularly prevalent in Korea where the age-standardized incidence rate is 45.0/100 000 population in males and 12.0/100 000 population in females. The death rate from HCC is 20.0/100 000 population. Approximately 65-75% of HCC patients were positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), where 10-20% of patients were anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) positive. The high incidence rate of HCC in Korea is thought to be related to the high carrier rate of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in the general population. For primary prevention, a nationwide HBV vaccination program has been conducted since the late1980s in Korea. Although advances have been made in the various methods of management of HCC, there has been little overall survival improvement during the past 20 years. Only few patients are candidates for potentially curative forms of treatment. Therefore, the early detection of HCC is a key issue. When compared with clinical outcomes of HCC based on recent 10-year institutional data, our screening and surveillance programs might enable early detection and increased applicability of curative treatments.