The impact of HIV on hepatocellular cancer survival in Nigeria

E. Okeke, P. Mark Davwar, B. Mullen, M. Duguru, O. Agbaji, A. Sagay, R. Murphy, C. Hawkins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an increasing cause of mortality in HIV-infected individuals. We compared host and tumour characteristics between HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected Nigerians with HCC and examined the impact of HIV on survival. Methods: This prospective observational study was conducted at Jos University Teaching Hospital in Jos, Nigeria, among adults (>18 years) with HCC enrolled between September 2015 and September 2017 and followed until April 2019. Demographics, tumour characteristics and survival were compared between HCC subjects with and without HIV. Results: 101 (10 HIV-infected and 91 HIV-uninfected) subjects were enrolled [male 72%; median age 48 (IQR 35–60)]. 60% HIV-infected subjects were receiving ART; 90% had CD4 counts ≥ 200/mm3 at HCC diagnosis, and 20% had HIV RNA levels < 20 copies/mL. 57.4% were infected with chronic HBV (HBsAg+). The duration of symptoms was shorter in HIV-infected vs. HIV-uninfected subjects [93 (IQR 54–132) vs. 155 (93–248] days; p = 0.02]. At the end of follow-up, 99 of 101 (98.0%) subjects were confirmed to have died: 9 of 10 (90.0%) HIV-infected and 90 of 91 (98.9%) HIV-uninfected. The probability of survival at three months was 22% and 47% in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected subjects, respectively (P = 0.02). Median time to death was significantly shorter in HIV-infected vs. HIV-uninfected subjects [24 days (IQR 16–88) vs. 85 days (IQR 34–178), respectively (P = 0.03)]. Conclusions: High early mortality was observed in this cohort of Nigerian adults with HCC. HIV infection was associated with a faster clinical presentation and shorter survival. More aggressive HCC surveillance may be warranted in HIV-infected subjects, particularly if they are co-infected with chronic HBV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-342
Number of pages8
JournalTropical Medicine and International Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • HIV
  • Nigeria
  • co-infection
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • prospective observational study
  • survival time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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