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Back to Oncology Diseases

Hepatocellular carcinoma

Updated: October 29, 2005


Hepatocellular carcinoma is a primary malignancy of the liver. The annual is around 5 cases per 100,000 per year. Estimated new cases and deaths from liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer in the United States in 2005:

  • New cases: 17,550.
  • Deaths: 15,420.

A study analyzing SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) data has shown that the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma is rising in both white and black populations in the United States, with a current incidence of about 3.4 cases per 100,000 in whites and 5.6 per 100,000 in blacks.


Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common tumor in males worldwide, with a male-to-female ratio of 5:1 in Asia and 2:1 in the United States.


The incidence of hepatocellular cancer increases with age. The mean age at diagnosis is 53 years in Asia and 67 years in the United States.

Race and ethnicity

The incidence of hepatocellular tumors is higher in Asian immigrants and blacks than in whites.

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Tumor incidence varies significantly, depending on geographical location. In the Far East and sub- Saharan Africa, this neoplasm occurs at an incidence of 150 per 100,000 population and comprises almost 50% of all diagnosed tumors, whereas in the United States, hepatocellular carcinoma represents < 2% of all tumors.

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