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Objectives: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver tumour worldwide and is increasing in incidence. This study aimed to describe the clinical characteristics of HCC among Omani patients, along with its major risk factors, outcomes and the role of surveillance. Methods: This retrospective case-series study was conducted between January 2008 and December 2015 at the three main tertiary care hospitals in Oman. All adult Omani patients diagnosed with HCC and visited these hospitals during the study period were included. Relevant data were collected from the patients’ electronic medical records. Results: A total of 284 HCC patients were included in the analysis. The mean age was 61.02 ± 11.41 years and 67.6% were male. The majority had liver cirrhosis (79.9%), with the most common aetiologies being chronic hepatitis C (46.5%) and B (43.2%). Only 13.7% of cases were detected by the HCC surveillance programme. Approximately half of the patients (48.5%) had a single liver lesion and 31.9% had a liver tumour of >5 cm in size. Approximately half (49.2%) had alpha-fetoprotein levels of ≥200 ng/mL. The majority (72.5%) were diagnosed using multiphase computed tomography alone. Less than half of the patients (48.9%) were offered one or more HCC treatment modalities. Conclusion: The majority of Omani HCC patients were male and had cirrhosis due to viral hepatitis. In addition, few patients were identified by the national surveillance programme and presented with advanced disease precluding therapeutic or even palliative treatment.
Keywords: Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Liver Cirrhosis; Human Viral Hepatitis; Public Health Surveillance; Early Detection of Cancer; Alpha-Fetoprotein; Oman.