J Liver Cancer.  2020 Mar;20(1):41-52. 10.17998/jlc.20.1.41.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Korea Between 2008 and 2011: an Analysis of Korean Nationwide Cancer Registry

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Busan Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Center for Liver Cancer, Research Institute and Hospital, Goyang, Korea
  • 5Department of Radiology, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea
  • 6Department of Internal Medicine, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University, Seongnam, Korea
  • 7Department of Surgery, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 8Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul Metropolitan Government Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 9Cancer Registration and Statistic Branch, National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea
  • 10Department of Internal Medicine and Liver Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Backgrounds/Aims: In Korea, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the sixth most common cancer and results in the second-highest cancer death rate among all cancers. We aimed to describe the characteristics of patients who were newly diagnosed with HCC in Korea between 2008 and 2011.
The Korean Primary Liver Cancer Registry (KPLCR) is a random sample consisting of approximately 15% of patients with newly diagnosed primary liver cancer registered in the Korean Central Cancer Registry. We investigated the baseline characteristics, treatment modalities, and overall survival (OS) of patients with HCC registered in the KPLCR between 2008 and 2011.
A total of 6,083 patients were histologically or radiologically diagnosed with HCC. The hepatitis B virus was the predominant HCC etiology (72.0%). According to the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) staging system, stages 0, A, B, C, and D accounted for 8.6%, 39.7%, 11.5%, 33.8%, and 6.9%, respectively. Transarterial therapy (41.7%) was the most commonly performed initial treatment, followed by best supportive care (21.7%), surgical resection (16.7%), and local ablation therapies (10.6%). The overall rate of adherence to the BCLC treatment guideline was only 37.7%. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year OS rates were 65.6%, 46.2%, and 36.8%, respectively.
Between 2008 and 2011, approximately half of patients with HCC (48.3%) were candidates for curative treatment (BCLC stage 0 or A), but one-third of patients (33.8%) had advanced HCC (BCLC stage C). Transarterial therapy was the most commonly conducted initial treatment and the 5-year OS rate was 36.8% in this period.


Hepatocellular carcinoma; Epidemiology; Overall survival; Hepatitis B; Korea
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