Objective: To describe and analyze the characteristics and trend of liver cancer, through data gathered from the Cancer Registry System, in China.
Methods: Annual registration data on cancer incidents and deaths of 2003 - 2007, from 32 cancer registries were employed. Crude rates of incidence and mortality, and age-standardized rates by the China population (ASRc) and the world population (ASRw) were calculated. Incidence and mortality rates by age, gender, and by area (urban or rural) were analyzed, and comparison was made internationally, based upon data from the GLOBOCAN 2008.
Results: The total person-years of 2003 - 2007 observed from the 32 cancer registries were 255 430 909, in which 197 651 428 from the urban areas, and 57 779 481 from the rural areas. A total of 68 146 incident cases with liver cancer were reported, which accounted for 10.03% (ranked second) of all the registered cases with cancers, with the average annual incidence as 26.68 per 100 000 (39.42 in males, 13.63 in females). ASRc and ASRw were 13.29 per 100 000 and 17.45 per 100 000, respectively. Sex ratios for incidence and mortality were 2.89:1 and 2.72:1, respectively. Incidence rates were 23.91 per 100 000 in urban areas, and 36.15 per 100 000 in rural areas. For mortality rates, they were 22.39 per 100 000 in urban areas and 34.05 per 100 000 in rural areas, respectively. Relative greater differences could be seen amongst these registries. The incidence rates were 10.15 - 33.85 per 100 000 in the urban areas, and 11.83 - 78.59 per 100 000 in the rural areas. For mortality rates, they were 13.99 - 28.45 per 100 000 in urban areas, and 11.02 - 71.99 per 100 000 in rural areas. According to data from the 184 cancer registries through GLOBOCAN 2008, liver cancer incidence in China was ranked the 5th in males, and 6th in females while mortality was ranked 2nd in males, and 5th in females.
Conclusion: Liver cancer had been the second most leading malignancy, following lung cancer, with annual incidents and death cases around 360 000 and 350 000, respectively and the figures seemed to be increasing. Nationwide monitoring and research programs on liver cancer should be emphasized.