African Immigrants in New York City with Hepatitis B-Related Hepatocellular Carcinoma Demonstrate High Morbidity and Mortality

Jacquelyn Carr, Da Eun Cha, Tali Shaltiel, Serena Zheng, Cleo Siderides, Benjamin Golas, Daniel Labow, Deepa Magge, Noah Cohen, Andrea Branch, Umut Sarpel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Guidelines recommend hepatitis B (HBV) testing in individuals from endemic areas, and if positive, screening for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). While screening programs are well established in the Asian immigrant population in New York City (NYC), less is known about the characteristics of HBV/HCC among the African immigrant community. A retrospective review was performed of HCC cases from 2005 to 2018 at our institution. Country of origin was not documented in the electronic medical record; therefore, African immigrant status was approximated using self-identified race/ethnicity, positive HBV status, and an online registry to determine country of origin based on last name. Surnames with the greatest prevalence or density in an African country were considered. Among 4400 patients with HCC, 472 identified as non-Hispanic Black; of these, 86 were HBV+. Based on surname, it was estimated that 33 individuals were likely immigrants from Africa. In this group, median age of HCC diagnosis was 48 years (IQR 43–55). In patients with an available date of HBV diagnosis (n = 24), 17 (71%) were unaware of their HBV status when they presented with HCC. Zero patients were diagnosed with HCC through routine screening, most patients (66%) were diagnosed upon imaging evaluation of symptoms. Twelve patients (36%) underwent resection or transplantation; the remaining 64% were ineligible for surgical treatment. Of the 26 patients with follow-up data, 18 (69%) died of disease or were critically ill at last encounter, and of these, 14 (77%) died within 1 year of HCC diagnosis. In conclusion, African immigrants in NYC with HBV/HCC are at high risk of HCC related mortality at a young age. Most were unaware of their hepatitis status at the time of HCC diagnosis. No patients were enrolled in routine HCC screening; the majority were diagnosed based on imaging obtained for symptoms. Most individuals presented with inoperable disease, and the majority died within months of diagnosis. Awareness of these findings may help healthcare providers improve patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-333
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • African immigrants
  • HBV-associated HCC
  • HCC epidemiology


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