What is the role of alcohol abuse in the etiology of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)?

Updated: Jan 31, 2021
  • Author: Luca Cicalese, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Answer

In the United States, about 30% of HCC cases are thought to be related to excessive alcohol use. Chronic alcohol use (> 80 g/d or > 6-7 drinks per day) for more than 10 years increases risk of HCC 5-fold.

Approximately 50% of US HCC patients have histories of alcohol abuse. As many as 50% of alcoholics may have subclinical HCC at autopsy.

Alcohol abusers are at increased risk of HCC if they stop drinking alcohol, because heavy drinkers typically do not survive long enough to develop cancer. The risk of HCC in patients with decompensated alcoholic cirrhosis is approximately 1% per year.


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