With hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) now the sixth most-common tumor in terms of new cases yearly and the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, The Liver Meeting® has put together a Global Forum dedicated to sharing experiences from different parts of the world to enhance local capabilities in addressing this significant problem.
Representatives from AASLD and four other international groups dedicated to liver disease will discuss ways to ease the burden of the disease during “Global Challenges in HCC Risk and Surveillance” from 2 to 4 pm Monday in Room 24/25. Jorge A. Marrero, MD, Professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Director of the Liver Transplant Program at UT Southwestern, Dallas, TX, and Lewis R. Roberts, MB, ChB, PhD, FAASLD, Professor of Medicine and chair of the Hepatobiliary Cancer Disease Group at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, will co-chair the forum.
Representatives from the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL), The Latin American Association for the Study of the Liver (ALEH), and Africa will share their experiences alongside the AASLD.
“The AASLD created this symposium to address the specific issues pertaining to different continents and locations, so I think we’re going to learn a lot about how the different areas of the world deal with this major health problem,” Dr. Marrero said. “Even though it’s a worldwide problem, there are significant differences in the numbers of cases as well as the underlying causes of HCC between Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas.”
For example, the most common cause in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa is chronic hepatitis B. Most HCC cases in Europe, northern Africa and the Americas, however, are related to hepatitis C, alcohol, and fatty liver disease.
Sessions such as Monday’s Global Forum offer additional opportunities to build upon collaborations between investigators and physicians from around the world to develop effective strategies to fight HCC.
“In Japan, the hepatitis C epidemic started 20 to 30 years before it happened in North America, and Japan saw a large increase in the number of a liver cancer cases,” Dr. Marrero said. “Now, it’s on the decline as the population with hepatitis C in Japan has decreased. We’ve learned from the Japanese how to screen for HCC early, how to diagnose, and the best approach to treating it.”
Dr. Roberts also pointed to the success in Taiwan with addressing the burden of hepatitis B-induced HCC, where identification of almost all individuals at risk and enrollment into a national surveillance program for HCC has resulted in detection of 70 percent or more of incident HCC cases at the very early or early stages of HCC, leading to excellent five-year survival of 70 percent in patients with HCC.
The scheduled presenters for the Global Forum are: Hashem B. El-Serag, MD. MPH, Baylor College of Medicine (AASLD); Jordi Bruix, MD, PhD, BCLC Group, Liver Unit, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, Spain (EASL); Diana A. Payawal, MD, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Philippines (APASL); Flair Jose Carrilho, MD, PhD, University of Sao Paolo, Brazil (ALEH); and Edith Okeke, MBBCh, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.
“We’re fortunate to have world-leading experts in the field from different parts of the world,” Dr. Marrero said. “We really will get an in-depth picture from each area about HCC, and at the end we’ll have a great panel discussion.”