Metabolic Risk Factors for Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Patients with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Prospective Study

Samuel O. Antwi, Emily C. Craver, Yvonne A. Nartey, Kurt Sartorius, Tushar Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a fast-growing public health problem and predisposes to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in a significant proportion of patients. Metabolic alterations might underlie the progression of NAFLD to HCC, but the magnitudes of risk and population-attributable risk fractions (PAFs) for various metabolic conditions that are associated with HCC risk in patients with NAFLD are unknown. We investigated the associations between metabolic conditions and HCC development in individuals with a prior history of NAFLD. The study included 11,245 participants in the SEER-Medicare database, comprising 1310 NAFLD-related HCC cases and 9835 NAFLD controls. We excluded individuals with competing liver diseases (e.g., alcoholic liver disease and chronic viral hepatitis). Baseline pre-existing diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, obesity, hypertension, hypothyroidism, and metabolic syndrome were assessed. Multivariable-adjusted logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). PAFs were also calculated for each metabolic condition. The results show that diabetes (OR = 2.39, 95% CI: 2.04–2.79), metabolic syndrome (OR = 1.73, 95% CI: 1.49–2.01), and obesity (OR = 1.62, 95% CI: 1.43–1.85) were associated with a higher HCC risk in individuals with NAFLD. The highest PAF for HCC was observed for pre-existing diabetes (42.1%, 95% CI: 35.7–48.5), followed by metabolic syndrome (28.8%, 95% CI: 21.7–35.9) and obesity (13.2%, 95% CI: 9.6–16.8). The major predisposing factors for HCC in individuals with NAFLD are diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, and obesity, and their control would be critically important in mitigating the rising incidence of NAFLD-related HCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6234
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • HCC
  • diabetes
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • liver cancer
  • metabolic syndrome
  • obesity
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Metabolic Risk Factors for Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Patients with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Prospective Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this