Liver cell dysplasia is defined as cellular enlargement, nuclear pleomorphism, and multinucleation of liver cells occurring in groups or occupying whole cirrhotic nodules. The prevalence, natural history, and relationship to the Australia or hepatitis-associated antigen (HAA) have been studied in 552 Ugandan African patients with normal, cirrhotic, and cancerous livers. Liver cell dysplasia was found in only two of 200 (1%) patients with normal livers, in three of 43 (6·9%) of patients with normal livers bearing primary liver cell carcinoma, 35 of 175 (20·3%) patients with cirrhosis, and 80 of 124 (64·5%) of patients with cirrhosis and primary liver cell carcinoma. Cirrhotic patients without dysplasia were, on average, ten years younger than those with dysplasia and the latter were on average six years younger than those with cirrhosis and carcinoma. Liver cell dysplasia occurred more frequently in males than in females. It was found in all but one instance in macronodular or mixed forms of cirrhosis only. There was a strong relationship between dysplasia and the presence of HAA in 104 patients that suggests a possible carcinogenic mechanism for the longincubation (serum or B) hepatitis virus in liver cell carcinoma. It is concluded that the presence of liver cell dysplasia identifies a group of patients with a high risk of liver cell carcinoma and that they should be followed up by serial alpha-fetoprotein estimations.
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