Hepatocellular carcinoma: epidemiology, risk factors and pathogenesis

World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Jul 21;14(27):4300-8. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.4300.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the commonest primary malignant cancer of the liver in the world. Given that the burden of chronic liver disease is expected to rise owing to increasing rates of alcoholism, hepatitis B and C prevalence and obesity-related fatty liver disease, it is expected that the incidence of HCC will also increase in the foreseeable future. This article summarizes the international epidemiology, the risk factors and the pathogenesis of HCC, including the roles of viral hepatitis, toxins, such as alcohol and aflatoxin, and insulin resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aflatoxins / toxicity
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • Hepacivirus / metabolism
  • Hepatitis / complications
  • Hepatitis / pathology
  • Hepatitis B virus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Liver Diseases / complications
  • Liver Diseases / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Liver Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Schistosomiasis / complications


  • Aflatoxins