The characteristics and clinical courses of 15 patients with fibrolamellar carcinoma have been compared to 62 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma treated over the same time period. Marked differences were found in patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics. Survival rates in these two groups of patients have been compared by univariate analysis of the subsets of those patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics. The longer survival of the group of patients with fibrolamellar carcinoma could not be accounted for by the prevalence or absence of any of these characteristics. Comparison of subsets of patients with documented noncirrhotic livers or those having complete resection of their tumors revealed a significantly prolonged survival in patients with the fibrolamellar variant. The 5 year survival rate of the patients with fibrolamellar carcinoma who had complete tumor resection was 45 percent, with a median survival time of 50 months. The 5 year survival of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who had complete tumor resection was 0 percent, with a median survival time of 22 months.