What is the global incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) worldwide?

Updated: Jan 31, 2021
  • Author: Luca Cicalese, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Worldwide, liver cancer was the sixth most common cancer and the third most common cause of cancer deaths in 2020, with an estimated 905,677 new cases and 830,180 deaths. The incidence was highest in East Asia, at 17.9 per 100,000 population (26.9 in males and 8.9 in females), followed by Micronesia, northern Africa, Southeast Asia, and Melanesia. The incidence was lowest in south-central Asia (3.0 per 100,000) and South America (4.4 per 100,000). By comparison, the incidence rate was 6.9 per 100,00 in northern America and 5.6 per 100,000 in western Europe. Overall, the incidence rate of liver cancer is approximately three times higher in males than in females. Mortality figures mirror the incidence figures. [1]  

In the United Kingdom, both the incidence and mortality rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have risen dramatically. Rates of HCC increased from 2.7 per 100,000 in 1997 to 8.8 per 100,000 in 2016 in men, and from 0.8 per 100,000 to 2.2 per 100,000 in women. [31]

Steady declines in HCC mortality are predicted for East Asia. In contrast, Northern and Central Europe, North America, and Latin America are showing unfavorable trends. [32]  According to an analysis of data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study, the number of liver cancer cases increased nearly threefold in older men and more than twofold in older women (aged 60 years or more) from 1990 to 2017. The increase consisted mainly of cases secondary to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH; popularly known as fatty liver disease). [29, 30]  

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