Steatohepatitic Variant of Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Focused Review

Andrea Morgan Olofson, David Hernandez Gonzalo, Michael Chang, Xiuli Liu


The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has steadily increased over the past three decades and currently ranks as the fifth most common cancer worldwide. Likewise, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a known risk factor for the development of HCC, has emerged as the most common liver disease in Western countries. The underlying pathogenesis of NAFLD-related HCC remains unclear. The steatohepatitic variant of HCC (SH-HCC) typically presents in patients with metabolic risk factors and either cirrhotic or non-cirrhotic NAFLD and shares many of the histological features found in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Given their similar morphological features, distinguishing SH-HCC from background fatty liver can be a diagnostic challenge. Immunohistochemical studies to characterize and assist in the diagnosis are relatively limited. Whether the steatotic phenotype of SH-HCC results from the tumor’s adaptive response to an environment rich in fatty acids or from an independent pathogenic pathway remains to be seen. This review aims to summarize what is currently known regarding the pathogenesis and clinicopathological features of SH-HCC.

Gastroenterol Res. 2018;11(6):391-396


Steatohepatitic; Hepatocellular carcinoma; NAFLD; NASH; Metabolic syndrome

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