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Caitlin A. Hester, Nicole E. Rich, Amit G. Singal, and Adam C. Yopp

Background: Despite an increasing burden of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), limited data are available comparing outcomes of NASH-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) versus other etiologies. Methods: Patient demographic and tumor characteristics were collected for 1,051 patients diagnosed with NASH-, alcohol-related liver disease (ALD)–, hepatitis C virus (HCV)–, and hepatitis B virus (HBV)–related HCC at 2 large health systems from January 2008 through December 2016. Patient demographics, clinical characteristics, and survival were compared. Risk-adjusted treatment receipt and overall survival (OS) were examined using multivariable analysis. Results: A total of 92 patients with NASH-related HCC were compared with 153 patients with ALD-, 719 with HCV-, and 87 with HBV-related HCC. Patients with NASH were older, more likely female, and more likely Hispanic white. Patients with NASH and HBV had more compensated liver disease than those with ALD or HCV, including significantly higher proportions having noncirrhotic HCC. Despite similar surveillance receipt and Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) tumor stage at diagnosis, patients with NASH had higher rates of curative-intent therapy than those with other diseases. Unadjusted median OS was 16 months for NASH, 15 months for ALD, 14 months for HCV, and 8 months for HBV. In multivariable analysis, NASH was associated with worse OS compared with ALD (hazard ratio, 1.92; 95% CI, 1.3–2.5), but there was no difference between NASH- and HCV- or HBV-related HCC. Conclusions: Patients with NASH-related HCC present with more preserved liver function, including a higher proportion having noncirrhotic HCC, than other diseases. Despite patients having similar tumor stage at diagnosis, NASH is independently associated with worse survival compared with ALD, but similar survival compared with HCV and HBV.

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Ashwin Rao, Nicole E. Rich, Jorge A. Marrero, Adam C. Yopp, and Amit G. Singal

Background: Delays in diagnosis and treatment have been reported for many cancers, with resultant stage migration and worse survival; however, few data exist in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). These data are of particular importance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused disruptions in healthcare processes and may continue to impact cancer care for the foreseeable future. The aim of our study was to characterize the prevalence and clinical significance of diagnostic and treatment delays in patients with HCC. Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of consecutive patients diagnosed with HCC between January 2008 and July 2017 at 2 US health systems. Diagnostic and treatment delays were defined as >90 days between presentation and HCC diagnosis and between diagnosis and treatment, respectively. We used multivariable logistic regression to identify factors associated with diagnostic and treatment delays and Cox proportional hazard models to identify correlates of overall survival. Results: Of 925 patients with HCC, 39.0% were diagnosed via screening, 33.1% incidentally, and 27.9% symptomatically. Median time from presentation to diagnosis was 37 days (interquartile range, 18–94 days), with 120 patients (13.0%) experiencing diagnostic delays. Median time from HCC diagnosis to treatment was 46 days (interquartile range, 29–74 days), with 17.2% of patients experiencing treatment delays. Most (72.5%) diagnostic delays were related to provider-level factors (eg, monitoring indeterminate nodules), whereas nearly half (46.2%) of treatment delays were related to patient-related factors (eg, missed appointments). In multivariable analyses, treatment delays were not associated with increased mortality (hazard ratio, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.60–1.35); these results were consistent across subgroup analyses by Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage and treatment modality. Conclusions: Diagnostic and therapeutic delays exceeding 3 months are common in patients with HCC; however, observed treatment delays do not seem to significantly impact overall survival.