Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma in a 7-year-old obese boy: coincidence or comorbidity?

Pediatr Obes. 2014 Oct;9(5):e99-e102. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2013.00209.x. Epub 2013 Dec 3.


Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) may develop from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) either in the presence or in the absence of established cirrhosis. Non-cirrhotic patients with NAFLD-related HCC are usually adult, male and obese. However, this association has not been reported yet in younger age groups. Objectives In the present study, the clinical case of a 7-yaer-old obese boy with steatosis and HCC is presented.

Methods: A 7-year-old boy, with no evidence of chronic liver disease, was admitted for assessment of a liver mass. Preliminary assessment was suggestive of a combined and severe liver steatosis together with a malignant disease.

Results: A biopsy confirmed the suspected diagnosis of HCC; interestingly, the non-neoplastic liver was surrounded and characterized by the presence of steatosis and ballooning, and being absent of lobular inflammation and fibrosis. Chemotherapy and diet changes were conducted successfully with ultrasound characteristics suggesting improvements on both aspects: conventional liver mass resection could take place.

Conclusions: This case report suggests that HCC might develop in paediatric age patients with obesity-related NAFLD, even in the absence of fibrosis.

Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; obesity; steatosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / therapy
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy
  • Male
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / etiology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / pathology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / therapy
  • Pediatric Obesity / complications*
  • Pediatric Obesity / pathology
  • Pediatric Obesity / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*