Aim: To characterize the baseline profiles of patients aged 70 years and above with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Methods: A series of 127 consecutive patients with HCC were enrolled between 2000 and 2004, and none of them had been diagnosed as having HCC previously. Baseline profiles, including parameters of hepatic function such as serum transaminase and prothrombin time [PT (% activity)] were compared between patients aged ≥70 and <70 years. Results: Patients ≥70 years old showed significantly lower levels of aspartate aminotransferase (P = 0.04) and alanine aminotransferase (P = 0.01), and significantly higher PTs (P = 0.04) and platelet counts (P = 0.02). Concomitantly, among ≥70-year-old patients, HCC was more common in non-cirrhotics, whereas among patients <70 years old, HCC was more common in cirrhotics. There was no significant difference between the groups in the number or size of tumors. Conclusion: Older HCC patients showed less inflammation and better preservation of hepatic function, indicating that not only cirrhotic patients but also non-cirrhotic patients should be considered as a high-risk group among the elderly.
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