University of Leicester
liver_ICBP_main_text_rerevised_clean.doc (138 kB)

Comparison of liver cancer incidence and survival by subtypes across seven high‐income countries

Download (138 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2021-09-22, 12:57 authored by Mark J Rutherford, Melina Arnold, Aude Bardot, Jacques Ferlay, Prithwish De, Hannah Tervonen, Alana Little, Oliver Bucher, Nathalie St Jacques, Anna Gavin, Gerda Engholm, Bjørn Møller, Dianne L O'Connell, Neil Merrett, Donald Maxwell Parkin, Freddie Bray, Isabelle Soerjomataram
International comparison of liver cancer survival has been hampered due to varying standards and degrees for morphological verification and differences in coding practices. This article aims to compare liver cancer survival across the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership's (ICBP) jurisdictions whilst trying to ensure that the estimates are comparable through a range of sensitivity analyses. Liver cancer incidence data from 21 jurisdictions in 7 countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom) were obtained from population-based registries for 1995-2014. Cases were categorised based on histological classification, age-groups, basis of diagnosis and calendar period. Age-standardised incidence rate (ASR) per 100 000 and net survival at 1 and 3 years after diagnosis were estimated. Liver cancer incidence rates increased over time across all ICBP jurisdictions, particularly for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with the largest relative increase in the United Kingdom, increasing from 1.3 to 4.4 per 100 000 person-years between 1995 and 2014. Australia had the highest age-standardised 1-year and 3-year net survival for all liver cancers combined (48.7% and 28.1%, respectively) in the most recent calendar period, which was still true for morphologically verified tumours when making restrictions to ensure consistent coding and classification. Survival from liver cancers is poor in all countries. The incidence of HCC is increasing alongside the proportion of nonmicroscopically verified cases over time. Survival estimates for all liver tumours combined should be interpreted in this context. Care is needed to ensure that international comparisons are performed on appropriately comparable patients, with careful consideration of coding practice variations.


Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

Cancer Council Victoria

Cancer Institute New South Wales

Cancer Research UK

DG Health and Social Care, Scottish Government

Kræftens Bekæmpelse


National Cancer Registry Ireland

NHS England

Public Health Agency Northern Ireland on behalf of the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry

Public Health Wales NHS Trust

The Cancer Society of New Zealand

Western Australia Department of Health



International Journal of Cancer, 2021,

Author affiliation

Biostatistics Research Group, University of Leicester


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

International Journal of Cancer







Acceptance date


Copyright date


Available date