A clinical perspective of the link between metabolic syndrome and hepatocellular carcinoma
François Cauchy, Jacques Belghiti
HPB and Liver Transplantation Unit, Hôpital Beaujon, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Clichy, France
Abstract: Metabolic syndrome (MS), which is defined as a constellation of clinico-biological features closely related to insulin-resistance has reached epidemic levels in Western Europe and Northern America. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) represents the hepatic manifestation of MS. As its incidence parallels that of MS, NAFLD is currently becoming one of the most frequent chronic liver diseases in Western countries. On one hand, MS favors the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) either through NAFLD liver parenchymal alterations (steatosis; steatohepatitis; fibrosis), or in the absence of significant underlying liver parenchyma changes. In this setting, HCC are often diagnosed incidentally, tend to be larger than in patients developing HCC on cirrhosis and therefore frequently require major liver resections. On the other hand, MS patients are at increased risk of both liver-related postoperative complications and increased cardiorespiratory events leading to non-negligible mortality rates following liver surgery. These deleterious effects seem to be related to the existence of impaired liver function even in the absence of severe fibrosis but also higher cardiorespiratory sensitivity in a setting of MS/NAFLD. Hence, specific medical and surgical improvements in the perioperative management of these patients are required. These include complete preoperative cardiorespiratory work-up and the wide use of preoperative liver volume modulation. Finally, the long-term prognosis after curative surgery for MS-related HCC does not seem to be worse than for other HCC occurring on classical chronic liver diseases. This is probably related to less aggressive tumor behavior with lower micro vascular invasion and decreased rates of poorly differentiated lesions. In this setting, several medical therapies including metformin could be of value in the prevention of both occurrence and recurrence of HCC.
Keywords: metabolic syndrome, NAFLD, NASH, neoplasia, hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatectomy, complications, morbidity
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