Survival trends for primary liver cancer, 1995–2009: analysis of individual data for 578,740 patients from 187 population-based registries in 36 countries (CONCORD-2)
Original Article

Survival trends for primary liver cancer, 1995–2009: analysis of individual data for 578,740 patients from 187 population-based registries in 36 countries (CONCORD-2)

Finian Bannon1, Veronica Di Carlo2, Rhea Harewood2, Gerda Engholm3, Stefano Ferretti4, Christopher J. Johnson5, Joanne F. Aitken6,7,8, Rafael Marcos-Gragera9,10, Audrey Bonaventure2,11, Anna Gavin12, Dyfed Huws13, Michel P. Coleman2, Claudia Allemani2; CONCORD Working Group**

1Centre of Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast, Institute of Clinical Science, Block B, Belfast, UK; 2Cancer Survival Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK; 3Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark; 4Registro Tumori della Romagna, Sede di Ferrara, Ferrara University, Ferrara Local Health Authority, Ferrara, Italy; 5Cancer Data Registry of Idaho, Boise, ID, USA; 6Cancer Council Queensland, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006, Australia; 7School of Public Health, The University of Queensland, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia; 8Institute for Resilient Regions, University of Southern Queensland, Springfield, QLD 4300, Australia; 9Epidemiology Unit and Girona Cancer Registry, Descriptive Epidemiology, Genetics and Cancer Prevention Group, IdlbGi, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Girona, Spain; 10Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology and Public Health, (CIBER de Epidemiología Y Salud Pública-CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain; 11CRESS, Université de Paris, INSERM, UMR 1153, Epidemiology of Childhood and Adolescent Cancers Team, Villejuif, France; 12Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK; 13Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Public Health Wales, Cardiff, UK

Contributions: (I) Conception and design: F Bannon, MP Coleman, C Allemani; (II) Administrative support: V Di Carlo; (III) Provision of data on patients with cancer: All cancer registry personnel in the CONCORD Working Group**; (IV) Collection and assembly of data: C Allemani, MP Coleman, R Harewood, A Bonaventure, G Engholm, S Ferretti, CJ Johnson, JF Aitken, R Marcos-Gragera, A Gavin, D Huws; (V) Data analysis and interpretation: F Bannon, V Di Carlo, R Harewood, MP Coleman, C Allemani; (VI) Manuscript writing: All authors; (VII) Final approval of manuscript: All authors.

**See list of Working Group members at the end of the article.

**CONCORD Working Group: Africa—Algeria: S Bouzbid (Registre du Cancer d’Annaba); M Hamdi-Chérif*, Z Zaidi (Registre du Cancer de Sétif); Gambia: R Swaminathan (National Cancer Registry); Lesotho: SH Nortje (Children’s Haematology Oncology Clinics - Lesotho); Libya: MM El Mistiri (Benghazi Cancer Registry); Mali: S Bayo, B Malle (Kankou Moussa University); Mauritius: SS Manraj, R Sewpaul-Sungkur (Mauritius National Cancer Registry); Nigeria: A Fabowale, OJ Ogunbiyi* (Ibadan Cancer Registry); South Africa: D Bradshaw, NIM Somdyala (Eastern Cape Province Cancer Registry); DC Stefan (Umtata University); Tunisia: L Jaidane, M Mokni (Registre du Cancer du Centre Tunisien).
America (Central and South)—Argentina: I Kumcher, F Moreno (National Childhood Cancer Registry); MS González, EA Laura (Bahia Blanca Cancer Observatory); GH Calabrano, SB Espinola (Chubut Cancer Registry); B Carballo Quintero, R Fita (Registro Provincial de Tumores de Córdoba); DA Garcilazo, PL Giacciani (Registro Provincial Poblacional de Tumores de Entres Rios); MC Diumenjo, WD Laspada (Registro Provincial de Tumores de Mendoza); MA Green, MF Lanza (Registro de Cáncer de Santa Fe); SG Ibañez (Population Registry of Cancer of the Province Tierra del Fuego); Brazil: CA Lima, E Lobo de Oliveira (Registro de Câncer de Base Populacional de Aracaju); C Daniel, C Scandiuzzi (Cancer Registry of Distrito Federal); PCF De Souza, CD Melo (Registro de Câncer de Base Populacional de Cuiabá); K Del Pino, C Laporte (Registro de Curitiba); MP Curado, JC de Oliveira (Registro de Goiânia); CLA Veneziano, DB Veneziano (Registro de Câncer de Base Populacional de Jaú); MRDO Latorre, LF Tanaka (Registro de Câncer de São Paulo); G Azevedo e Silva* (University of Rio de Janeiro); Chile: JC Galaz, JA Moya (Registro Poblacional de Cáncer Region de Antofagasta); DA Herrmann, S Vargas (Registro Poblacional Region de Los Rios); Colombia: VM Herrera, CJ Uribe (Registro Poblacional de Cáncer Area Metropolitana de Bucaramanga); LE Bravo (Cali Cancer Registry); NE Arias-Ortiz (Registro Poblacional de Cáncer de Manizales); DM Jurado, MC Yépez Chamorro (Registro Poblacional de Cáncer del Municipio de Pasto); Cuba: YH Galán Alvarez, P Torres (Registro Nacional de Cáncer de Cuba); Ecuador: F Martínez-Reyes, ML Pérez-Meza (Cuenca Tumor Registry); L Jaramillo, R Quinto (Guayaquil Cancer Registry); P Cueva, JG Yépez (Quito Cancer Registry); Puerto Rico: CR Torres-Cintrón, G Tortolero-Luna (Puerto Rico Central Cancer Registry); Uruguay: R Alonso, E Barrios (Registro Nacional de Cáncer).
America (North)—Canada: C Nikiforuk, L Shack (Alberta Cancer Registry); AJ Coldman, RR Woods (British Columbia Cancer Registry); G Noonan, D Turner* (Manitoba Cancer Registry); E Kumar, B Zhang (New Brunswick Provincial Cancer Registry); FR McCrate, S Ryan (Newfoundland & Labrador Cancer Registry); H Hannah (Northwest Territories Cancer Registry); RAD Dewar, M MacIntyre (Nova Scotia Cancer Registry); A Lalany, M Ruta (Nunavut Department of Health and Social Services); L Marrett, DE Nishri* (Ontario Cancer Registry); CA McClure, KA Vriends (Prince Edward Island Cancer Registry); C Bertrand, R Louchini (Registre Québécois du Cancer); KI Robb, H Stuart-Panko (Saskatchewan Cancer Agency); S Demers, S Wright (Yukon Government); USA: JT George, X Shen (Alabama Statewide Cancer Registry); JT Brockhouse, DK O’Brien (Alaska Cancer Registry); L Almon (Metropolitan Atlanta Registry); J Bates (California State Cancer Registry); R Rycroft (Colorado Central Cancer Registry); L Mueller, CE Phillips (Connecticut Tumor Registry); H Brown, B Cromartie (Delaware Cancer Registry); AG Schwartz, F Vigneau (Metropolitan Detroit Cancer Surveillance System); JA MacKinnon, B Wohler (Florida Cancer Data System); R Bayakly (Georgia Cancer Registry); KC Ward (Georgia Cancer Registry; Metropolitan Atlanta Registry); CA Clarke, SL Glaser (Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry); D West (Cancer Registry of Greater California); MD Green, BY Hernandez (Hawaii Tumor Registry); CJ Johnson, D Jozwik (Cancer Data Registry of Idaho); ME Charlton, CF Lynch (State Health Registry of Iowa); B Huang, TC Tucker* (Kentucky Cancer Registry); D Deapen, L Liu (Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program); MC Hsieh, XC Wu (Louisiana Tumor Registry); K Stern (Maryland Cancer Registry); ST Gershman, RC Knowlton (Massachusetts Cancer Registry); G Alverson, GE Copeland (Michigan State Cancer Surveillance Program); DB Rogers (Mississippi Cancer Registry); D Lemons, LL Williamson (Montana Central Tumor Registry); M Hood (Nebraska Cancer Registry); GM Hosain, JR Rees (New Hampshire State Cancer Registry); KS Pawlish, A Stroup (New Jersey State Cancer Registry); C Key, C Wiggins (New Mexico Tumor Registry); AR Kahn, MJ Schymura (New York State Cancer Registry); G Leung, C Rao (North Carolina Central Cancer Registry); LK Giljahn, B Warther (Ohio Cancer Incidence Surveillance System); A Pate (Oklahoma Central Cancer Registry); M Patil, SS Schubert (Oregon State Cancer Registry); JJ Rubertone, SJ Slack (Pennsylvania Cancer Registry); JP Fulton, DL Rousseau (Rhode Island Cancer Registry); TA Janes, SM Schwartz (Seattle Cancer Surveillance System); SW Bolick, DM Hurley (South Carolina Central Cancer Registry); J Richards, MA Whiteside (Tennessee Cancer Registry); LM Nogueira (Texas Cancer Registry); K Herget, C Sweeney (Utah Cancer Registry); J Martin, S Wang (Virginia Cancer Registry); DG Harrelson, MB Keitheri Cheteri (Washington State Cancer Registry); S Farley, AG Hudson (West Virginia Cancer Registry); R Borchers, L Stephenson (Wisconsin Department of Health Services); JR Espinoza (Wyoming Cancer Surveillance Program); HK Weir* (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention); BK Edwards* (National Cancer Institute).
Asia—China: N Wang, L Yang (Beijing Cancer Registry); JS Chen (Changle City Cancer Registry); GH Song (Cixian Cancer Registry); XP Gu (Dafeng County Center for Disease Control and Prevention); P Zhang (Dalian Centers for Disease Prevention and Control); HM Ge (Donghai County Center for Disease Prevention and Control); DL Zhao (Feicheng County Cancer Registry); JH Zhang (Ganyu Center for Disease Prevention and Control); FD Zhu (Guanyun Cancer Registry); JG Tang (Haimen Cancer Registry); Y Shen (Haining City Cancer Registry); J Wang (Jianhu Cancer Registry); QL Li (Jiashan County Cancer Registry); XP Yang (Jintan Cancer Registry); J Dong, W Li (Lianyungang Center for Disease Prevention and Control); LP Cheng (Henan Province Central Cancer Registry); JG Chen (Qidong County Cancer Registry); QH Huang (Sihui Cancer Registry); SQ Huang (Taixing Cancer Registry); GP Guo (Cancer Institute of Yangzhong City); K Wei (Zhongshan City Cancer Registry); WQ Chen*, H Zeng (The National Cancer Center); Cyprus: AV Demetriou, P Pavlou (Cyprus Cancer Registry); Hong Kong: WK Mang, KC Ngan (Hong Kong Cancer Registry); India: R Swaminathan (Chennai Cancer Registry); AC Kataki, M Krishnatreya (Guwahati Cancer Registry); PA Jayalekshmi, P Sebastian (Karunagappally Cancer Registry); SD Sapkota, Y Verma (Population Based Cancer Registry, Sikkim); A Nandakumar* (National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research); Indonesia: E Suzanna (Jakarta Cancer Registry); Israel: L Keinan-Boker, BG Silverman (Israel National Cancer Registry); Japan: H Ito, H Nakagawa (Aichi Cancer Registry); M Hattori, Y Kaizaki (Fukui Cancer Registry); H Sugiyama, M Utada (Hiroshima Prefecture Cancer Registry); K Katayama, H Narimatsu (Kanagawa Cancer Registry); S Kanemura (Miyagi Prefectural Cancer Registry); T Koike (Niigata Prefecture Cancer Registry); I Miyashiro (Osaka Cancer Registry); M Yoshii (Saga Prefectural Cancer Registry); I Oki (Tochigi Prefectural Cancer Registry); A Shibata (Yamagata Prefectural Cancer Registry); T Matsuda* (National Cancer Center); Jordan: O Nimri (Jordan National Cancer Registry); Korea: KW Jung, YJ Won (Korea Central Cancer Registry); Malaysia: A Ab Manan (Malaysia National Cancer Registry); N Bhoo-Pathy (University of Malaya); Mongolia: S Tuvshingerel (Cancer Registry of Mongolia); C Ochir (Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences); Qatar: AM Al Khater, MM El Mistiri (Qatar Cancer Registry); Saudi Arabia: H Al-Eid (Saudi National Cancer Registry); Taiwan: CJ Chiang, MS Lai (Taiwan Cancer Registry); Thailand: K Suwanrungruang, S Wiangnon (Khon Kaen Provincial Cancer Registry); K Daoprasert, D Pongnikorn (Lampang Cancer Registry); SL Geater, H Sriplung (Songkhla Cancer Registry); Turkey: S Eser, CI Yakut (Izmir Cancer Registry).
Europe—Austria: M Hackl (Austrian National Cancer Registry); H Mühlböck, W Oberaigner (Tyrol Cancer Registry); Belarus: AA Zborovskaya (Belarus Childhood Cancer Subregistry); OV Aleinikova (Belarusian Research Center for Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Immunology); Belgium: K Henau, L Van Eycken (Belgian Cancer Registry); Bulgaria: N Dimitrova, Z Valerianova (Bulgarian National Cancer Registry); Croatia: M Šekerija (Croatian National Cancer Registry); Czech Republic: M Zvolský (Czech National Cancer Registry); Denmark: G Engholm, H Storm* (Danish Cancer Society); Estonia: K Innos, M Mägi (Estonian Cancer Registry); Finland: N Malila, K Seppä (Cancer Society of Finland); France: J Jégu, M Velten (Bas-Rhin General Cancer Registry); E Cornet, X Troussard (Registre Régional des Hémopathies Malignes de Basse Normandie); AM Bouvier, J Faivre (Registre Bourguignon des Cancers Digestifs); AV Guizard (Registre Général des Tumeurs du Calvados); V Bouvier, G Launoy (Registre des Tumeurs Digestives du Calvados); P Arveux (Breast cancers registry of Côte-d’Or France); M Maynadié, M Mounier (Hémopathies Malignes de Côte d’Or); E Fournier, AS Woronoff (Doubs and Belfort Territory General Cancer Registry); M Daoulas (Finistère Cancer Registry); J Clavel (French National Registry of Childhood Hematopoietic Malignancies); S Le Guyader-Peyrou (Registre des Hémopathies Malignes de la Gironde); A Monnereau (Registre des Hémopathies Malignes de la Gironde; French Network of Cancer Registries (FRANCIM)); B Trétarre (Registre des Tumeurs de l’Hérault); M Colonna (Registre du Cancer du Département de l’Isère); A Cowppli-Bony, F Molinié (Loire-Atlantique-Vendée Cancer Registry); S Bara, D Degré (Manche Cancer Registry); O Ganry, B Lapôtre-Ledoux (Registre du Cancer de la Somme); P Grosclaude (Tarn Cancer Registry); A Belot (Hospices Civils de Lyon); F Bray*, M Piñeros* (International Agency for Research on Cancer); F Sassi (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development); J Estève (Université Claude Bernard, Lyon); Germany: R Stabenow (Common Cancer Registry of the Federal States); A Eberle (Bremen Cancer Registry); C Erb, AL Nennecke (Hamburg Cancer Registry); J Kieschke, E Sirri (Epidemiological Cancer Registry of Lower Saxony); H Kajueter (North Rhine Westphalia Cancer Registry); K Emrich, SR Zeissig (Rhineland Palatinate Cancer Registry); B Holleczek (Saarland Cancer Registry); N Eisemann, A Katalinic (Schleswig-Holstein Cancer Registry); H Brenner (German Cancer Research Center); Gibraltar: RA Asquez, V Kumar (Gibraltar Cancer Registry); Iceland: EJ Ólafsdóttir, L Tryggvadóttir (Icelandic Cancer Registry, Icelandic Cancer Society); Ireland: H Comber, PM Walsh (National Cancer Registry Ireland); H Sundseth* (European Institute of Women’s Health); Italy: G Mazzoleni, F Vittadello (Registro Tumori Alto Adige); A Giacomin (Piedmont Cancer Registry Provinces of Biella and Vercelli); F Bella, M Castaing (Integrated Cancer Registry of Catania-Messina-Siracusa-Enna); A Sutera Sardo (Registro Tumori Catanzaro); G Gola (Registro Tumori della Provincia di Como); S Ferretti (Registro Tumori della Provincia di Ferrara); D Serraino, A Zucchetto (Registro Tumori del Friuli Venezia Giulia); R Lillini, M Vercelli (Registro Tumori Regione Liguria); S Busco, F Pannozzo (Registro Tumori della Provincia di Latina); S Vitarelli (Registro Tumori della Provincia di Macerata); P Ricci (Registro Tumori Mantova); C Pascucci (Registro Tumori Marche Childhood); AG Russo (Registro Tumori Milano); C Cirilli, M Federico (Registro Tumori della Provincia di Modena); M Fusco, MF Vitale (Registro Tumori della ASL Napoli 3 Sud); M Usala (Nuoro Cancer Registry); R Cusimano, W Mazzucco (Registro Tumori di Palermo e Provincia); M Michiara, P Sgargi (Registro Tumori della Provincia di Parma); MM Maule, C Sacerdote (Piedmont Childhood Cancer Registry); R Tumino (Registro Tumori della Provincia di Ragusa); L Mangone (Registro Tumori Reggio Emilia); F Falcini (Registro Tumori della Romagna); L Cremone (Registro Tumori Salerno); M Budroni, R Cesaraccio (Registro Tumori della Provincia di Sassari); A Madeddu, F Tisano (Registro Tumori Siracusa); S Maspero, R Tessandori (Registro Tumori della Provincia di Sondrio); G Candela, T Scuderi (Registro Tumori Trapani); S Piffer (Registro Tumori Trento); S Rosso, L Sacchetto (Piedmont Cancer Registry); A Caldarella (Registro Tumori della Regione Toscana); F Bianconi, F Stracci (Registro Tumori Umbro di Popolazione); P Contiero, G Tagliabue (Registro Tumori Lombardia, Provincia di Varese); AP Dei Tos, M Zorzi (Registro Tumori Veneto); F Berrino*, G Gatta, M Sant* (Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori); R Zanetti* (International Association of Cancer Registries); R Capocaccia*, R De Angelis (National Centre for Epidemiology); Latvia: E Liepina, A Maurina (Latvian Cancer Registry); Lithuania: I Vincerževskienė (Lithuanian Cancer Registry); Malta: D Agius, N Calleja (Malta National Cancer Registry); Netherlands: S Siesling, O Visser (Netherlands Cancer Registry, IKNL); Norway: S Larønningen, B Møller (The Cancer Registry of Norway); Poland: A Dyzmann-Sroka, M Trojanowski (Greater Poland Cancer Registry); S Góźdź, R Mężyk (Holy Cross Cancer Registry); J Błaszczyk, K Kępska (Lower Silesian Cancer Registry); M Grądalska-Lampart, AU Radziszewska (Subcarpathian Cancer Registry); JA Didkowska, U Wojciechowska (National Cancer Registry); M Bielska-Lasota, K Kwiatkowska (National Institute of Public Health, NIH); Portugal: G Forjaz de Lacerda, RA Rego (Registo Oncológico Regional dos Açores); J Bastos, MA Silva (Registo Oncológico Regional do Centro); L Antunes, MJ Bento (Registo Oncológico Regional do Norte); A Mayer-da-Silva, A Miranda (Registo Oncólogico Regional do Sul); Romania: D Coza, AI Todescu (Cancer Institute I. Chiricuta); Russia: MY Valkov (Arkhangelsk Regional Cancer Registry); Slovakia: J Adamcik, C Safaei Diba (National Cancer Registry of Slovakia); Slovenia: M Primic-Žakelj, T Žagar (Cancer Registry of Republic of Slovenia); J Stare (University of Ljubljana); Spain: E Almar, A Mateos (Registro de Cáncer de Albacete); JR Quirós (Registro de Tumores del Principado de Asturias); J Bidaurrazaga, N Larrañaga (Basque Country Cancer Registry); JM Díaz García, AI Navarro (Registro de Cáncer de Cuenca); R Marcos-Gragera, ML Vilardell Gil (Epidemiology Unit and Girona Cancer Registry); E Molina, MJ Sánchez Perez (Granada Cancer Registry); P Franch Sureda, M Ramos Montserrat (Mallorca Cancer Registry); MD Chirlaque, C Navarro (Murcia Cancer Registry); E Ardanaz, CC Moreno-Iribas (Registro de Cáncer de Navarra, CIBERESP); R Fernández-Delgado, R Peris-Bonet (Registro Español de Tumores Infantiles); J Galceran (Tarragona Cancer Registry); Sweden: S Khan, M Lambe (Swedish Cancer Registry); Switzerland: B Camey (Registre Fribourgeois des Tumeurs); C Bouchardy, M Usel (Geneva Cancer Registry); H Frick, C Herrmann (Cancer Registry Grisons and Glarus; Cancer Registry of St Gallen-Appenzell); JL Bulliard, M Maspoli-Conconi (Registre Neuchâtelois et Jurassien des Tumeurs); CE Kuehni, M Schindler (Swiss Childhood Cancer Registry); A Bordoni, A Spitale (Registro Tumori Canton Ticino); A Chiolero, I Konzelmann (Registre Valaisan des Tumeurs); KL Matthes (Cancer Registry Zürich and Zug); United Kingdom: J Rashbass (National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service England); D Fitzpatrick, A Gavin (Northern Ireland Cancer Registry); RJ Black, DH Brewster (Scottish Cancer Registry); CA Stiller (National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service, Public Health England); DW Huws, C White (Welsh Cancer Intelligence & Surveillance Unit); C Allemani*, A Bonaventure, MP Coleman*, V Di Carlo, R Harewood, M Matz, M Nikšić, B Rachet* (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine); R Stephens* (National Cancer Research Institute, London); F Bannon (Queens University, Belfast).
Oceania—Australia: E Chalker, L Newman (Australian Capital Territory Cancer Registry); D Baker, MJ Soeberg (NSW Cancer Registry); J Aitken, C Scott (Queensland Cancer Registry); BC Stokes, A Venn (Tasmanian Cancer Registry); H Farrugia, GG Giles (Victorian Cancer Registry); T Threlfall (Western Australian Cancer Registry); D Currow*, H You (Cancer Institute NSW); New Zealand: J Hendrix, C Lewis (New Zealand Cancer Registry).
* CONCORD Steering Committee.
Dr. Adriano Giacomin passed away on 23 March 2017.

Correspondence to: Finian Bannon, Centre of Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast, Institute of Clinical Science, Block B, Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6BA, UK. Email: f.j.bannon@qub.ac.uk.

Background: Primary liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer world-wide, and the second most common cause of death from cancer, with an estimated 841,100 new cases and 781,500 deaths each year. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) accounts for 60–80% of cases, and cholangiocarcinoma 10–40%. We examined global trends in survival for both these sub-types of liver cancer, by country, age, sex and calendar period.

Methods: Data on 1,005,032 adults (aged 15–99 years) diagnosed with a primary, invasive malignant neoplasm of the liver or intrahepatic bile ducts between 1995 and 2009 were provided by 243 population-based cancer registries in 60 countries. Analysis was restricted to patients for whom the diagnosis of a primary malignancy had been confirmed by histological or cytological examination, or assignation of a specific morphology code, and to registries from which survival estimates were considered reliable. We estimated both five-year net survival and conditional five-year net survival, for patients who survived to the first anniversary of diagnosis. Funnel plots were used to examine international variation in survival and variation by age and morphology.

Results: Data on 578,740 patients from 187 registries in 36 countries were included after quality control. For patients diagnosed during 2004–2009, the pooled estimate of age-standardised five-year net survival for liver cancer was 14.8% (range, 4.4–23.7%), higher than for patients diagnosed during 1995–2000 (11.0%). Survival for patients diagnosed with HCC during 2004–2009 (pooled estimate 17.4%, range 7.7–25.5%) was higher than for those with cholangiocarcinoma (8.4%, range 3.7–16.0%). Survival for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 was higher in Canada, Italy, Japan, Taiwan and Korea (21.2–23.7%) than the pooled estimate for patients diagnosed some 10 years earlier (1995–2000; 11.0%). Conditional survival in 2004–2009 was also higher in New Zealand, Canada, Taiwan, Korea, and China (42.0–52.7%) than the pooled estimate for 1995–2000 (33.2%).

Conclusions: Survival from primary cancers of the liver has increased, but it remains poor in most countries we have examined. International variation in survival highlights the potential to improve outcomes, but prevention must also remain a priority. There is a need for continued and expanded surveillance of survival, especially in low- and middle-income countries, to assess the impact of interventions in policy and treatment. Greater consistency in registration practice and coding of liver cancer would reduce the variation in data quality and further improve the comparability of survival estimates.

Keywords: Survival; trends; liver cancer; hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); cholangiocarcinoma; cancer registry; international


Received: 20 May 2019; Accepted: 17 June 2019; Published: 20 September 2019.

doi: 10.21037/ace.2019.07.01


Introduction

Primary liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer world-wide, and the second most common cause of cancer death, with an estimated 841,100 new cases and 781,500 deaths each year (1). More than 70% of cases and deaths arise in males. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) accounts for 60–80% of invasive malignancies of the liver (2). It is estimated that 80% of HCC cases are secondary to chronic infection with hepatitis B or C (3). Aflatoxin contamination of cereals and peanuts is estimated to cause up to 28% of cases in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and China (4). In high-income countries, where incidence rates are lower, important risk factors are chronic hepatitis C infection, alcohol-induced cirrhosis (5), and increasingly, liver disease linked with diabetes and obesity (6).

Most other primary malignancies of the liver are cholangiocarcinomas [10–40% of cases (2)], arising in the intrahepatic bile ducts. In South-east Asia, particularly Thailand, infestation with the liver flukes Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis is an endemic risk factor (7). Risk factors in other countries include primary sclerosing cholangitis (8), cholelithiasis (9) and hepatitis C infection (10), but cholangiocarcinoma has also been associated with smoking (11) and obesity (12).

A large proportion of the global burden of liver cancer, therefore, is potentially preventable through reductions in exposure to risk, particularly chronic viral infection. However, over 80% of HCC occur in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia (3). Vaccination against hepatitis viruses for primary prevention can be difficult in low- and middle-income countries with limited infrastructure (13,14), although such a programme was successfully introduced in the Gambia (15). The global burden of incidence is thus likely to remain high for the foreseeable future. Global surveillance of survival is required, both to identify international variation in outcomes (16) and to identify modifiable prognostic factors in a given country, such as health-seeking behaviour, screening, access to services, early diagnosis and treatment, and health system organization (17).

Trends in population-based survival enable the overall effectiveness of the health system in each country to be monitored. Five-year net survival from liver cancer is very low (10–20%) in both developed and developing countries (18,19). Survival for patients whose cholangiocarcinoma is localised and who receive a transplant and chemoradiation can be as high as 68% at 5 years (20), while it can be as high as 75% for those with very early HCC (21); however, only a small proportion of patients are diagnosed sufficiently early for surgery and transplantation to be viable, even in developed countries. Patients with intra- or extra-hepatic metastases fare much less well, with five-year survival typically below 10% (21).

We present international comparisons of trends in population-based net survival up to five years after diagnosis of primary cancer of the liver among adults diagnosed during 1995–2009 in 36 countries that were included in the CONCORD-2 study (19).


Methods

Methods of data acquisition, quality control and analysis for the CONCORD-2 study, and ethical approval, have been described (19). Data were submitted by 243 population-based cancer registries in 60 countries on 1,005,032 adults (aged 15–99 years) diagnosed with their first, primary, invasive, malignant neoplasm of the liver or intrahepatic bile ducts [International Classification of Diseases for Oncology, third revision (ICD-O-3) (22), C22.0 and C22.1] between 1995 and 2009. After exclusion of 22,175 records during data quality control, 982,857 patients were eligible for inclusion in analyses.

The liver is a common site for metastatic spread from cancer in other organs, so we only included primary, invasive, malignant tumours of the liver (behaviour code /3) for which the registry provided evidence of histological or cytological confirmation of the diagnosis, or a specific morphology code (i.e., excluding ICD-O-3 8000–8005), irrespective of the basis of diagnosis. We also included patients whose cancer was diagnosed with the specific tumour marker alpha-fetoprotein (usually >200 ng/mL serum) and coded as HCC, not otherwise specified (ICD-O-3 morphology 8170), according to guidelines from the European Network of Cancer Registries (ENCR) (23). We excluded data from registries for which the liver cancer survival estimates had been flagged as less reliable in CONCORD-2 (19). We also excluded patients whose tumour was registered only from a death certificate (DCO), or solely at autopsy.

We defined two main morphological groups: HCC (ICD-O-3 8170–8175) and cholangiocarcinoma (ICD-O-3 8050, 8140–8141, 8160–8161, 8260, 8440, 8480–8500, 8570–8572) (24).

Five-year net survival was estimated with the non-parametric Pohar-Perme estimator (25) using the Stata (26) program stns (27). Net survival deploys life tables of all-cause mortality rates in the general population by age, sex and year, to correct for the effect of the wide international variations in non-cancer mortality. Life tables were constructed from death and population counts by single year of age or five-year age group, sex, race/ethnicity (where possible) and calendar year or period, for the territory of each participating registry or country (28). The classical cohort approach was used to estimate survival for patients diagnosed during 1995–2000 and 2001–2003, because at least five years of follow-up for vital status were available for all these patients by 31 December 2009. We estimated survival for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 with the complete approach (29), because not all patients had been followed up for five years. We also estimated five-year survival conditional on survival to the end of the first year after diagnosis, as a surrogate for survival in patients with local or regional disease, since patients with advanced disease are unlikely to survive more than one year. The calendar periods were chosen to match the availability of data on stage from 2001, and changes in the data collection processes for coding SEER Summary Stage 2000 from 2004 (30).

We estimated net survival for each of five age groups, and used the International Cancer Survival Standard (ICSS) weights (15–44 years, 0.07; 45–54 years, 0.12; 55–64 years, 0.23; 65–74 years, 0.29; 75–99 years, 0.29) to produce age-standardised survival estimates for all ages combined (31). Age-specific survival was only estimated if data for at least 50 patients were available for analysis, and at least 10 deaths had been observed. If a survival estimate could not be obtained for a particular age group, the data for two adjacent groups were combined, and the analysis repeated. The pooled estimate was then used for both age groups in age-standardization.

Funnel plots (32) were adopted for graphical presentation, in preference to the conventional ranked bar charts, in order to identify countries with unexpectedly high or low survival, given the precision of the estimate. A random effects model (33), fitted by restricted maximum likelihood estimation, adjusted for the precision of each estimate, was used to estimate the mean and variance of the distribution of five-year survival estimates for all countries included in each analysis. The analysis was performed on the complementary log-log scale (34), with 5% ‘winsorisation’ (32) to reduce inflation of the variance. We use this pooled estimate as the target in the funnel plot, for purely descriptive purposes. The standard error of each estimate and the standard deviation between countries, derived from the random effects model, were used to construct the control limits of the funnel plot; estimates outside the 95.0% or 99.8% control limits are at least 1.96 and 3.09 standard deviations from the target, respectively (34).

Since none of the age-standardised survival estimates for 2004–2009 exceeded the upper 95% control limit in the funnel plot, we changed the ‘target’ or benchmark, to the pooled survival estimate for patients diagnosed during 1995–2000. This was done in order to help identify countries or registries in which the age-standardised 5-year net survival for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 was higher than for patients diagnosed 10 years earlier. A similar approach was used to identify age-specific survival estimates for 2004–2009 that were higher than the corresponding pooled estimate for patients diagnosed during 1995–2000.


Results

Patients

Of the 982,857 patients eligible for inclusion in CONCORD-2, we excluded 166,557 (16.9%) patients from 56 registries in 24 countries for which the survival estimates were considered less reliable (19), or for which fewer than 50 patients were available for analysis in each calendar period, leaving 816,300 patients (Figure 1). We excluded a further 41,650 patients (4.2% of those eligible) whose tumour was registered from a death certificate only, or at post-mortem, or for other reasons (Table 1), and 195,910 patients (19.9% of those eligible) with no evidence of microscopic verification or a specific morphology code, including a code derived from the alpha-fetoprotein level (23). We included 578,740 patients (58.9% of eligible patients) from 187 registries in 36 countries in survival analyses. Age-standardised estimates of five-year net survival were available for 28 of the 36 countries (Table 2).

Figure 1 Patients diagnosed with liver cancer during 1995–2009: number submitted and excluded, and the final number included in the analyses.
Table 1
Table 1 Data quality indicators (%) and number of patients included in analysis: adults (15–99 years) diagnosed with primary liver cancer during 1995–2009
Full table
Table 2
Table 2 Number of patients included in analysis, five-year net survival (NS, %) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI), patients diagnosed with primary liver cancer, 1995–2009, in 36 countries
Full table

Data quality

The proportion of tumours registered as a DCO or without microscopic verification varied widely (Table 1). DCO registrations exceeded 10% in 12 of the 36 countries. In China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Thailand and Poland, more than 50% of patients were excluded for lack of microscopic verification or a specific morphology code (not shown). In Thailand, Denmark, Poland and Sweden, 20% or more of cholangiocarcinomas were coded as arising in the liver (C22.0), rather than the intrahepatic bile ducts, while in Malaysia, 14% of HCC were coded as arising in the intrahepatic bile ducts (C22.1; Table S1).

Table S1
Table S1 Adults (15–99 years) diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma or cholangiocarcinoma* during 1995–2009 in 36 countries: distribution (no., %) by sub-site
Full table

The number of patients with data on stage at diagnosis was too small to enable international comparison of age-standardised net survival by stage.

Age, sex and histological group

Patients in low- and middle-income countries were generally younger than in European countries and Japan (Figure 2A). Most patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 were male (median proportion 69.4%, Figure 2B). HCC was more common than cholangiocarcinoma (median 70.4% and 19.4%, respectively; Figure 2C). HCC represented 84.0–89.7% of liver cancers in Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, while cholangiocarcinoma represented 67.4% of liver cancers in Thailand and 43.9% in the UK (Table S1).

Figure 2 Distribution (%) of liver cancers diagnosed during 2004–2009 by (A) age, (B) sex and (C) morphology. Numbers of patients in parentheses. Only microscopically verified tumours (see ‘Methods’). For definition of morphology groups, see text.

Five-year net survival of patients diagnosed in 2004–2009

For all liver cancers combined, the pooled estimate of age-standardised five-year net survival in 28 countries for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 was 14.8% (range 4.4–23.7%; Table 2). Survival was much lower than the pooled estimate for the same period in Denmark (6.7%), Slovenia (6.0%), and Thailand (4.4%; Figure 3A). None of the estimates exceeded the upper limit of the funnel plot.

Figure 3 Age-standardised 5-year net survival for liver cancer patients diagnosed during 2004–2009: (A) the target value is the pooled estimate for the same period; (B) the target value is the pooled estimate for 1995–2000, 10 years earlier; (C) 5-year survival, conditional on survival to the end of the first year after diagnosis, for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 with the pooled estimate for 1995–2000, 10 years earlier, as the target value. Hollow circles represent unstandardized survival estimates (Table 2). Only age-standardised estimates contributed to the construction of the funnel plot. UN country codes: AUS, Australian registries; AUT, Austria; BEL, Belgium; CAN, Canada; CHN, Chinese registries; COL, Colombian registries; DNK, Denmark; EST, Estonia; FIN, Finland; FRA, French registries; DEU, German registries; IDN, Indonesia (Jakarta); IRL, Ireland; ITA, Italian registries; JPN, Japanese registries; KOR, Korea; MYS, Malaysia (Penang); MLT, Malta; MNG, Mongolia; NLD, Netherlands; NZL, New Zealand; NOR, Norway; POL, Polish registries; PRT, Portugal; ROU, Romania (Cluj); RUS, Russia (Arkhangelsk); SVK, Slovakia; SVN, Slovenia; ESP, Spanish registries; SWE, Sweden; CHE, Swiss registries; TWN, Taiwan; THA, Thai registries; TUR, Turkey (Izmir); GBR, United Kingdom; USA, US registries.

Five-year survival for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 in Canada, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea (21.2–23.7%) was higher than the upper 95% control limit around the 1995–2000 benchmark (11.0%) (Figure 3B).

Age-standardised five-year conditional survival for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 who had survived for at least one year varied from 24.4% to 52.7% (Table 3). In New Zealand, China, Canada, Taiwan and Korea, conditional survival for 2004–2009 (42.0–52.7%) was above the upper 95% control limit around the 1995–2000 benchmark (33.2%; Figure 3C).

Table 3
Table 3 Age-standardised five-year net survival (NS, %) and conditional survival, with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI), patients diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma or cholangiocarcinoma†† during 2004–2009, in 28 countries
Full table

Hepatocellular carcinoma

The pooled estimate of age-standardised five-year net survival for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 was 17.4% (range 7.7–25.5%; Table 3). Survival in Slovenia (7.7%) and Denmark was lower than the pooled estimate (8.1%; Figure 4A). None of the estimates exceeded the upper 95% control limit of the funnel plot.

Figure 4 Hepatocellular carcinoma: age-standardised 5-year net survival for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009: (A) the target value is the pooled estimate for the same period; (B) the target value is the pooled estimate for patients diagnosed during 1995–2000, 10 years earlier; (C) 5-year survival, conditional on survival to the end of the first year after diagnosis, for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 with the pooled estimate for 1995–2000, 10 years earlier, as the target value. Hollow circles represent unstandardized survival estimates. Only age-standardised estimates (Table 3) contributed to the construction of the funnel plot. Country codes: see Figure 3.

Five-year survival for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 was higher than the upper 95% control limit for 1995–2000 in Canada, Italy, Japan, Taiwan and Korea (24.0–25.5%; Figure 4B), suggesting progress from the levels ten years earlier.

Conditional survival for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 was higher than the 95% control limits for 1995–2000 in China, Sweden, Belgium, Canada, Korea and Taiwan (42.8–51.9%; Figure 4C), also suggesting progress in these countries.

Five-year net survival is generally lower in older patients. The pooled estimates of five-year net survival for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 aged 15–44, 45–54, 55–64, 65–74 and 75–99 years were 30.6%, 24.6%, 21.4%, 15.8% and 10.2%, respectively (Table 4).

Table 4
Table 4 Five-year net survival (NS, %) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) of patients diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma during 2004–2009 by age at diagnosis, 28 countries
Full table

There is some evidence that age-standardised five-year survival tends to be slightly higher for women (21.8%) than men (17.5%; Table 5).

Table 5
Table 5 Age-standardised five-year net survival (NS, %), and 95% confidence interval (95% CI), patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 with hepatocellular carcinoma or cholangiocarcinoma, by sex, 22 countries
Full table

In every country except Poland, five-year net survival for younger patients (15–44 years) diagnosed during 2004–2009 was higher than the pooled estimate for patients diagnosed in that age group some 10 years earlier, 1995–2000 (20.2%; Figure 5A). In Korea, Taiwan and Italy, this increase was seen in every age group (Figure 5A,B,C,D,E).

Figure 5 Hepatocellular carcinoma: 5-year net survival for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009, by age at diagnosis: (A) 15–44 years, (B) 45–54 years, (C) 55–64 years, (D) 65–74 years, and (E) 75–99 years. The target value in each funnel plot is the pooled estimate for that age group for patients diagnosed during 1995–2000, 10 years earlier. Country codes: see Figure 3.

Cholangiocarcinoma

Age-standardised five-year net survival for patients diagnosed during 2004-2009 ranged from 3.7% in Thailand and Finland to 16.0% in China (Table 3; Figure 6A). The pooled estimate was 8.4%. Survival was similar for men (8.8%) and women (8.3%) (Table 5).

Figure 6 Cholangiocarcinoma: age-standardised 5-year net survival for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009: (A) the target value is the pooled estimate for the same period; (B) the target value is the pooled estimate for patients diagnosed during 1995–2000, 10 years earlier; (C) 5-year survival, conditional on survival to the end of the first year after diagnosis, for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 with the pooled estimate for 1995–2000, 10 years earlier, as the target value. Hollow circles represent unstandardized survival estimates. Only age-standardised estimates (Table 3) contributed to the construction of the funnel plot. Country codes: see Figure 3.

Five-year survival for patients diagnosed during 2004–2009 exceeded the upper 95% control limit for patients diagnosed during 1995–1999 in China (16.0%), Belgium (14.4%) and Portugal (13.3%) (pooled estimate 6.0%) (Figure 6B).

All the age-standardised five-year conditional survival estimates for 2004–2009 were within the control limits around the pooled estimate for patients diagnosed ten years earlier (22.0%), suggesting there had been little change in longer-term survival (Figure 6C).


Discussion

CONCORD-2 is the largest study to date of population-based survival from primary malignant neoplasms of the liver. The estimates of net survival up to five years after diagnosis presented here are based on data for 578,740 patients from 187 population-based registries in 36 countries over the 15-year period 1995–2009. All the estimates are corrected for international variation and trends in background mortality, and where possible they are age-standardised. For patients diagnosed during 2004–2009, age-standardised comparisons of net survival are now available for HCC in 25 countries and for cholangiocarcinoma in 20 countries.

The pooled estimate of age-standardised five-year net survival for primary liver cancer during 2004–2009 was 14.8% (range 4.4–23.7%). Survival was higher for patients diagnosed with HCC (17.4%, range 7.7–25.5%) than for those with cholangiocarcinoma (8.4%, range 3.7–16.0%).

Five-year net survival increased slightly between 1995–2000 (pooled estimate 11.0%) and 2004–2009 (14.8%), most noticeably in younger patients and for those with HCC. Given that survival is notably higher for HCC than for cholangiocarcinoma, and the wide international variation in the relative frequency of these two sub-types, international comparisons of liver cancer survival should probably be done separately for HCC and cholangiocarcinoma.

In Canada, Italy, Japan, Taiwan and Korea, five-year net survival for HCC (21.2–23.7%) in 2004–2009 was higher than the pooled estimate for 1995–2000. Japan introduced a programme for early diagnosis with new imaging techniques from the 1980s, with advanced techniques in surgery and chemotherapy (35). The proportion of tumours larger than 10 cm fell from 65.0% to 6.0% during 1978–2005 (36). The proportion of patients diagnosed with localised disease in Japan (60%) (35) is higher than in Korea (44%) (37), the USA (41%) (38) or Taiwan (30%) (39). The evidence of reduced mortality from screening patients with chronic liver disease is weak (40), but a dose-dependent association was found in a national study in Taiwan between shorter intervals from ultrasonography examination to a confirmed diagnosis and subsequent mortality (41). The high proportion of DCO registrations in Japan (20.5%) and the low proportion of patients with histological confirmation of the diagnosis in Italy (43.5%) may have modified the stage distribution (data not shown), but we have not examined survival by stage.

Age-standardised 5-year net survival for HCC was slightly but systematically higher for women than for men. A similar result was seen in the US SEER programme from a study of 39,345 patients diagnosed between 1988 and 2010, in which the hazard ratio for all-cause survival was 17% lower in women than men (42). The role of sex hormones was invoked in that study, but earlier detection could also play a role.

Conditional survival (five-year net survival among patients who had survived to the first anniversary of diagnosis) in 2004–2009 was highest in New Zealand, Canada, Taiwan, Korea, and China (42.0–52.7%). International variation in conditional five-year survival from HCC is likely to reflect the impact of variation in treatment for earlier-stage disease better than variation in five-year survival estimates that include the first year, because many patients with advanced-stage disease will have died in the first year after diagnosis. It may also reflect variation in treatment for localised and early-stage disease, through wider access to surgery (38,43,44), including liver transplantation (45,46), better patient selection (47-49) and clinical experience (50-52). Almost all these studies were done in Taiwan or the US.

Five-year net survival for patients diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma during 2004–2009 was extremely low world-wide (3.7–16.0%). Survival in China, Belgium and Portugal has improved since 1995–2000, but little improvement has been seen in most other countries. Improvements in survival have been reported from the SEER programme in the USA (53), but most patients still receive no liver-directed intervention (54), despite evidence of better outcomes from resection (17) and transplantation (55). Resection rates have not improved (17), and barriers to treatment, such as household income (56) have been identified. Again, most of these are studies are from the US.

This study has highlighted the wide variation in data quality for liver cancer from population-based cancer registries. The problem arises partly because liver cancers are often diagnosed late, when invasive investigation is not warranted, survival is poor and the proportion of cases registered only from a death certificate (DCO) can be high. The liver is also a site of predilection for metastasis from other organs. These aspects of data quality can affect the comparability of survival estimates, both by exclusion of DCOs, for which the duration of survival is unknown but probably very short, and by the inability to determine accurately the morphologic type or the stage at diagnosis. Variability in data quality was also shown by the coding of cholangiocarcinoma to the liver parenchyma (20–30% of cases in four countries).

Misclassification of liver metastases as primary liver cancers will have been reduced by the exclusion of patients for whom the only basis of diagnosis was a death certificate. We also excluded patients for whom there was no evidence of microscopic verification. The European Network of Cancer Registries recommends assignation of a morphology code for HCC (ICD-O-3 M8170) if a liver tumour is diagnosed solely from high levels of alpha-fetoprotein, so some primary HCCs may have been excluded where this practice was not adopted. Survival estimates are more susceptible to bias when a large proportion of patients is excluded, such as in Romania, Thailand, Japan, Italy and China. Incomplete trace-back to find the date of diagnosis of cases first notified to the registry from a death certificate, resulting in a high proportion of DCO registrations, has been shown to bias survival estimates upwards, because such cases are often diagnosed shortly before death, leaving little time for routine cancer registration (57,58). By contrast, Denmark undertakes very intensive trace-back; the proportion of DCO cases for liver cancer is extremely low (0.8%), and this leads to inclusion in the analyses of many patients with very short survival.

Funnel plots are preferable to ranked bar charts for displaying survival estimates as higher or lower than a given benchmark, because they take due account of the precision of each estimate (34). Here, we devised a new method, using a random effects model to handle the wide international variation in both the survival estimates and the precision of those estimates, while maintaining control limits within the range 0 to 100%. The more objective comparison of survival estimates, presented alongside information on data quality, should motivate adoption of better registration practice, to improve both completeness and quality of the data. The collection of more complete data on tumour stage needs special emphasis, to enable evaluation of the contributions of early diagnosis and timely treatment to survival (59,60).

Unfortunately, many countries in Asia and Africa, where liver cancer incidence is usually high, could not be included in the analyses because of the lack of population-based cancer registry data. Survival in these countries is likely to be lower than in the high-income countries from which most of the data presented here were available (61).


Conclusions

Despite international variation and improvement over time, survival from liver cancer remains very low in most countries, particularly for cholangiocarcinoma. For hepatocellular carcinoma, prevention remains an urgent priority, through reduction in exposure to key risk factors such as aflatoxin (62), responsible for 5–28% of cases (4), and excessive alcohol consumption (63,64), as well as more widespread immunization against hepatitis B and C (14). Difficulties in implementing vaccination in low- and middle-income countries suggest that the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma is likely to remain high (13).

Improving survival should therefore remain a high priority. Credible international comparisons of survival should stimulate policy to improve early diagnosis, and clinical trials of new approaches to treatment. Sustained effort is required to expand population-based cancer registration for surveillance of cancer incidence and survival worldwide. Global studies of cancer survival, such as CONCORD, contribute to this effort.


Acknowledgments

We thank Lisa Montel and Adrian Turculeț for logistical support. Funding from: Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (Toronto, Canada), Cancer Focus Northern Ireland (Belfast, UK), Cancer Institute New South Wales (Sydney, Australia), Cancer Research UK (London, UK), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta GA, USA), Swiss Re (London, UK), Swiss Cancer Research foundation (Bern, Switzerland), Swiss Cancer League (Bern, Switzerland), and University of Kentucky (Lexington KY, USA).


Footnote

Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical Statement: This study was approved by the Confidentiality Advisory Group of the UK’s Statutory Health Research Authority (HRA; reference ECC 3-04(i)/2011; last update March 3, 2017), the National Health Service Research Ethics Service (11/LO/0331; Feb 21, 2017), and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Ethics Committee (12171; Sept 6, 2017). The authors are accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.


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doi: 10.21037/ace.2019.07.01
Cite this article as: Bannon F, Di Carlo V, Harewood R, Engholm G, Ferretti S, Johnson CJ, Aitken JF, Marcos-Gragera R, Bonaventure A, Gavin A, Huws D, Coleman MP, Allemani C; CONCORD Working Group. Survival trends for primary liver cancer, 1995–2009: analysis of individual data for 578,740 patients from 187 population-based registries in 36 countries (CONCORD-2). Ann Cancer Epidemiol 2019;3:6.