Background & Aims This study examined and compared the incidence patterns of hepatocellular carcinoma among age groups in Taiwan, 30 years after a universal hepatitis B virus immunization program was launched. Methods Data for hepatocellular carcinoma diagnosed in 2003-2011 were collected from the population-based Taiwan Cancer Registry. Age-standardized incidence rates were calculated to analyze and compare the changes in incidence rates and trends. More specific analyses were performed on four age groups separated by sex. Results A total of 82,856 patients were diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma in 2003-2011 in Taiwan, yielding an age-standardized incidence rate of 32.97 per 100,000 person-years. Hepatocellular carcinoma was predominantly diagnosed in middle-aged adults (50.1%) and elderly people (49.1%), in contrast to the low incidences in children (0.04%) and adolescents and young adults (0.8%). Striking variations in trends were found for children (annual percent change: -16.6%, 2003-2010) and adolescents and young adults (annual percent change: -7.9%, 2003-2011). The incidence rate of hepatocellular carcinoma in children decreased to zero in 2011; only a slight decline in trends occurred for the middle-aged group (annual percent change: -2%, 2003-2011), and a slight upward trend was observed for elderly people (1.3%), specifically in women (1.7%). Conclusions In Taiwan, hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma was nearly eradicated in children in 2011. The findings on age-specific incidence patterns and trends of hepatocellular carcinoma suggest that different control strategies for treating this devastating disease in the future be made according to age.
ASJC Scopus subject areas