Korean J Clin Pharm.  2021 Jun;31(2):153-159. 10.24304/kjcp.2021.31.2.153.

Analysis of Medical Use and Treatment Costs of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients Using National Patient Sample Data

  • 1School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University, 2066 Seobu-ro, Jangan-gu, Suwon 16419, Republic of Korea
  • 2College of Pharmacy, Sahmyook University, 815 Hwarang-ro, Nowon-gu, Seoul 01795, Republic of Korea


With increasing economic evaluation studies on the treatment of or screening tools for liver diseases that cause hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), interest in the analysis of the medical utilization and costs of HCC treatment is increasing. Therefore, we aimed to estimate the medical utilization and costs of HCC patients, and calculate the cost of main procedures for HCC treatment, including liver transplant (LT), hepatic resection (HR), radiofrequency ablation (RFA), and transarterial chemoembolization (TACE).
We analyzed claim data from January to December 2018 from the Health Insurance and Review and Assessment Service–National Patient Sample (HIRA-NPS-2018) dataset, including data of patients diagnosed with HCC (Korean Standard Classification of Diseases code C22.0) who had at least one inpatient claim for HCC.
A total of 715 HCC patients were identified. In 2018, the yearly average medical cost per HCC patient was ₩18,460K (thousand), of which ₩14,870K was attributed to HCC. Among the total medical costs of HCC patients, the inpatient cost accounted for the largest portion of both the total medical and HCC-related costs. The major procedures of HCC treatment occurred most frequently in the order of TACE, RFA, HR, and LT. The average medical cost per treatment episode was the highest for LT (₩87,280K), followed by HR (₩10,026K), TACE (₩4,047K), and RFA (₩2,927K).
By identifying the medical costs of HCC patients and the costs of the main procedures of HCC treatment, our results provide basic information that could be utilized for cost estimation in liver disease-related economic evaluation studies.


Hepatocellular carcinoma; medical costs; medical utilization; treatment; surgery
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