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    Liver (Hepatocellular) Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Summary of Evidence

    Note: Separate PDQ summaries on Adult Primary Liver Cancer Treatment and Childhood Liver Cancer Treatment are also available.


    Based on fair evidence, screening of persons at elevated risk does not result in a decrease in mortality from hepatocellular cancer.

    Magnitude of Effect: No reduction in mortality.

    Study Design: Randomized controlled trials.
    Internal Validity: Fair.
    Consistency: Multiple studies, large number of participants.
    External Validity: Fair.


    Based on fair evidence, screening would result in rare but serious side effects associated with needle aspiration cytology such as needle-track seeding, particularly of lesions more than 2 cm in diameter, and hemorrhage, bile peritonitis, and pneumothorax. Transjugular liver biopsy is rarely associated with major complications such as perforation of the hepatic capsule or cholangitis.

    Magnitude of Effect: Good evidence for uncommon but serious harms.

    Study Design: Randomized controlled trials and observational studies.
    Internal Validity: Fair.
    Consistency: Multiple studies, large number of participants.
    External Validity: Good.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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