Medline: 1655224

Cancer 68(8): 1737-1741, 1991.

Hepatocellular carcinoma in childhood: clinical manifestations and prognosis.

Ni YH, Chang MH, Hsu HY, et al.


From December 1964 to November 1989, 71 children from 3 to 17 years of age with the eventual diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) presented at the National Taiwan University Hospital (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China). Forty-three of them had pathologic proof, whereas 28 were diagnosed on a clinical and laboratory basis. A male predominance (M:F = 3.2:1) was noticed. Most patients presented in a late, advanced stage. Abdominal pain and abdominal mass were the major symptoms and signs, followed by anorexia, fever, and internal bleeding. Hydrocele, purpura, and obstructive jaundice were rare presenting symptoms. Hepatosplenomegaly, superficial venous engorgement, and ascites were the main physical signs. The prognosis for such children with HCC was very poor. Only 10% of the patients survived longer than 1 year after the onset of the initial symptom. Among 49 patients who could be followed, only two had long-term survival of over 5 years. One patient had a small HCC with internal bleeding, whereas the other had a large HCC with abdominal distention. Both received surgical resection, and a resection was repeated for tumor recurrence in the patient with the large mass. The resectability of these 71 patients was low (9.8%). Resectability and nonicterus seemed to be the factors indicating favourable prognosis. Observation indicated that the prognosis for children with symptomatic HCC is grave but surgical resection, whenever possible, should be carried out.

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